The Esther K. Newman/Carolyn Kully Newman Funds Grants Committee held their annual meeting last month to review grant applications from organizations that provide Jewish youth programs. Four grants were awarded from the Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund and one grant was awarded from the Carolyn Kully Newman Memorial Fund.
Both funds support programs that strengthen Jewish identity and values through educational, religious, cultural, social or recreational activity. The Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund supports programs that are designed for Jewish youth, preschool through college age, and for Jewish young adults ages 23 or younger who are not attending a college or university. The Carolyn Kully Memorial Fund awards grants to programs for children in kindergarten or younger.
The Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund began as Camp Esther K. Newman in 1961. Now owned by the State of Nebraska, the camp is called “Camp Newman.” Established by Jule, Nick, Robert and Murray Newman in memory of Jule’s first wife, Esther, who was known for her activities in the community, and her interest in young people. After the camp was sold in 1979, the proceeds were used to create the Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund.
In 1980, the Carolyn Kully Newman Memorial Fund was established by the Livingston Foundation in memory of Jule Newman’s second wife, Carolyn. An interior decorator, Carolyn was involved with organizations in the Jewish community and the greater Omaha community, including organizations that supported youth.
The Esther K. Newman/Carolyn Kully Newman Grants Committee was especially pleased to fund programs that involved collaboration between different organizations. For example, a community “Sukkah Hop” received a grant from the Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund and another grant from the Carolyn Kully Newman Memorial Fund. The event is scheduled for Sept. 26 and is jointly sponsored by Beth El Synagogue, Beth Israel Synagogue and Temple Israel. The grant application submitted by the synagogues described the event as a progressive dinner, with participants visiting the synagogues’ sukkahs and the sukkah at the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home. There will be activities held at each of the locations.
Another Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund grant was awarded to an educational program presented by the Institute for Holocaust Education (IHE), in partnership with Friedel Jewish Academy and other schools. The “Book and Culture-Sharing Holocaust Program” is a project based on The Daughter We Had Always Wanted: The Story of Marta. The book will be read simultaneously by fifth and sixth grade students from Friedel, the Winnebago Catholic Parish School and Maayanot Elementary School in the Israel Partnership.
The book addresses a variety of issues including the Holocaust, Judaism, Catholicism, settling in Israel, family values and other topics. Skutt Catholic High School students will read the memoir in order to lead discussions with the younger students. The program will include a visit to Omaha in the fall by Maaynot educators and students from Skutt traveling to Israel next March. This program is a unique opportunity for cultural exchange between Jewish, Catholic and Native American students.
The IHE received a grant from the Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund to support a high school teachers’ workshop about Jewish partisans during the Holocaust. According to the IHE grant proposal, the four hour program will be held in February 2011 and will be available to Jewish and non-Jewish teachers. An expert facilitator from the Jewish Partisans Educational Foundation (JPEF) will present the workshop, and will include materials from the movie Defiance. Defiance is about the Bielski Jewish partisans who fought the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.
During the workshop, the JPEF will give teachers the tools to engage their students in a number of ways, so that their students will learn to critically think about history, leadership, ethics and values. Teachers will receive a Defiance DVD, interviews with Bielski partisans, curriculum to use when they show Defiance to students, and more. The IHE grant proposal also indicated that the workshop will provide Omaha Hebrew High School educators with a program that will give Jewish high school students new inspiration in learning about the Holocaust.
An Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund grant was awarded to the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation for the B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy Program. The Foundation’s grant proposal indicated that the program is designed to teach young people about philanthropy and non-profit organizations, getting them interested in different groups and issues that are important to them and important to the Jewish community. The program was established by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and is offered by 40 other communities around the country.
The B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy Program plans to hold at least five youth programs in the coming school year that include guest speakers, activities and community service projects. Coordinating with Omaha synagogues and the Community Hebrew High School, the program will educate youth about different non-profit Jewish organizations. By participating in this program, teens will become active philanthropists.
Members of the Esther K. Newman/Carolyn Kully Newman Grants Committee who attended this year’s meeting were Gary Javitch, Noam Margalit, Stan Mitchell, Kimberly Robinson, and Dorothy Spizman. The Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation Executive Director, Marty Ricks, and Foundation Endowment Associate, Janet Henthorn, were also present at the meeting. For information about next year’s grant application process, please contact the Foundation office at 334.6551.