Rabbi Joel Berman Joins Temple Beth Emet

Rabbi Joel Berman, the new rabbi at Temple Beth Emet in Anaheim, has been an actor and stand-up comedian.  He received his Masters of Hebrew Letters from the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and was ordained as a rabbi at the Jerusalem branch of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Machon Schechter.
From 2003 to 2010, Rabbi Berman served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Ohev Tzedek-Sha’arei Torah in Youngstown, Ohio.  Encountering the challenges of a declining steel town, an aging population and a shrinking pool of children, he enlivened a staid after-services Torah study class, invited different age groups of children to strengthen their connection to the synagogue and taught classes that re-engaged congregants and brought in new members.  Active in the Youngstown community, he played in a four-rabbi band, served on the Jewish Community Relations Council and led a Jewish-Christian study group.  From 1992 to 2003, Rabbi Berman lived in Jerusalem where he had a variety of positions including founder/administrator of the Yeshiva of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Rabbi Berman is married to Chaia Beckerman, and they have two children, Deana and Eitan.

SHALVA Hires Strategic Planning Director

SHALVA, the Association for Mentally & Physically Challenged Children in Israel, has announced that Dr. Hillel Davis, former vice president for university life at Yeshiva University, will become its director of strategic planning & initiatives, effective September 1.  Before joining YU, Dr. Davis was a senior vice president of human resources at IDT Corporation.
Davis holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology and joins the SHALVA team just as it is preparing to assume an even greater role in providing services for children and adults with special needs, both in Israel and beyond.  The new SHALVA National Children’s Center is under construction, and it will be the largest facility of its type in Israel.  In what is certain to be a model for innovative programming and therapies, SHALVA will continue to provide assistance to infants, children and young adults with special needs while offering comprehensive support and respite to their families.  Dr. Davis will bring his years of strategic experience to the project and help ensure that such a broad-based transition is implemented smoothly.
Davis and his wife Rachayl have wanted to make aliyah for many years. They arrived in Israel last month with Nefesh B’Nefesh and reside in Jerusalem.

New IDF Soldiers
Make Aliyah on
Jumbo Charter Flight

Speaking of Nefesh B’Nefesh, a 747 jumbo charter Aliyah flight from JFK airport carried 360 North Americans who are moving to Israel.  The flight, organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, was sponsored by Friends of the IDF (FIDF).  Among the 132 singles on board the flight, were 104 young men and women who will be joining the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the coming months.  More than 450 prospective soldiers are expected to make aliyah from North America and the UK in 2011.
This is the second year that Nefesh B’Nefesh and Friends of the IDF (FIDF) have joined forces to help newly arrived soldiers with their transition into their new lives in Israel and national service.  These soldiers receive additional assistance, including financial grants, social support, quarterly care packages and post-army integrative services, including educational guidance, career counseling and job placement.  A


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