Valley Beit Midrash

Valley Beit Midrash is a positive force for the Greater Phoenix Jewish community! What sets us apart from other Jewish outreach educational organizations is that we utilize an enriching grassroots, pluralistic model that empowers community voices to be heard and shared.
Location: Phoenix , AZ
Year founded: 2007

Description

Valley Beit Midrash (VBM) is a collaborative organization that brings new, exciting, and relevant Jewish programming to the Greater Phoenix Jewish community in a diverse, welcoming, engaging, and pluralistic setting.

The mission of Valley Beit Midrash is simple: to improve the quality of Jewish life in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community. We accomplish this by:

Bringing together a diverse cross-section of the community;

Encouraging greater cooperation and collaboration between different Jewish organizations;

Teaching, modeling, and inspiring the value of pluralism;

Cultivating the next generation of Jewish leaders.

VBM offers classes, panel discussions, and scholars-in-residence as part of its adult education offerings. In addition, VBM has offered a teen scholarship program (The VBM Teen Scholars) and a program for medical professionals (HaRofeh: The Jewish Medical Society of the Valley). We currently host a fellowship program for young social entrepreneurs (Start Me Up!) and a leadership development program for young Jewish leaders in their 20s (Jewish Leadership Corps).

Valley Beit Midrash was established in 2007 as a collaborative effort with Temple Chai with the goal of bringing together a diverse cross-section of the Greater Phoenix Jewish community around Jewish learning.

The partnership between Temple Chai, a long-established synagogue and center for Jewish life, and Valley Beit Midrash, an entrepreneurial Jewish start-up organization, is a model for American Jewish life in the 21st century. In 2010, Valley Beit Midrash expanded its programming and welcomed Temple Solel as a third partner organization.

As of 2015, VBM has added many additional partner organizations and is proud to count local synagogues such as Temple Chai, Temple Solel, Congregation Beth Israel, and Temple Kol Ami (Reform), Congregation Or Tzion (Conservative), Congregation Beth Tefilah (Orthodox), the Jewish Community Association, the Jewish Community Foundation, and the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center as partner organizations.


Arizona Jews For Justice CHESED Fellowship

About

The Arizona Jews For Justice CHESED Fellowship is an experiential, spiritually enriching leadership program meant to instill timeless Jewish values for the next generation of leaders through the participation of monthly service projects that benefit and enrich the local Jewish community through social justice and good deeds. 

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

The mission and purpose of the Arizona Jews For Justice CHESED Fellowship is to fill a need in the Phoenix Jewish community by empowering young professionals in their 20s and 30s to become leaders and change-makers through local service projects, character development workshops, teamwork training, and Jewish-based social justice action. With the tools acquired during the program, fellows will be able to lead their own service projects and organize their own social justice initiatives. 

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Program Description

Our program is simple: to get 10 of the brightest young professionals in the Jewish community and empower them to be leaders for positive change through a year-long program. Each month, fellows perform one service project, whether it’s supporting asylum seekers/refugees, seniors who need some assistance, working at a food bank, or gathering supplies for the homeless, among other causes. We intend to partner with other local organizations to provide the spaces for the fellows to get involved. At the end of the program, each fellow receives a stipend of $360. (We feel that having a stipend will lead to interest and attention.)




Looking broadly, Arizona Jews for Justice (and VBM, generally) aims to see Phoenix as the premier hub for Jewish youth-led change-making. One way we see the community flourishing is by focusing attention on young professionals and their desire to be involved in local Jewish communal affairs. In the past, we hosted a Teen Mussar Fellowship program and the Jewish Leadership Corps, where ethical Jewish character traits were taught during each session. We are unaware of other organizations in our community that cater to this demographic and approach. 




The CHESED Fellowship is a direct response to this critical need. We intend to provide an outlet for young professional leaders to engage and give back to their community through service projects; we care deeply about impact on the lives of the most vulnerable. We want Jewish young professionals to think deeply about what it means to be a productive member of society. Through experience in running young professional Jewish educational programming, we’ve seen that the most effective means to engage people from different backgrounds is for them to learn from experience, to take Jewish values out of books, and actualize them in the real world. In this way, we broaden their knowledge base of Jewish values while ensuring long-term engagement in a population that will become future local leaders.

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Demonstrated Need

Arizona Jews For Justice’s purpose is to engage the Jewish community to think deeply about the societal problems that surround us. This includes populations that are often forgotten or left vulnerable by a system that would rather ignore them. Our community demands an immersive service learning development program for young leaders and the CHESED Fellowship will fill this critical need. By creating and executing this program, an important population within the community gets the attention it deserve. It is critical to keep sight of those unique individuals who will bring an energy that will sustain existing, or even new, institutions and organizations. This fellowship, in turn, will have a positive effect on the local Jewish population for decades to come.

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Program Accomplishments

1) Valley Beit Midrash runs the Start Me Up! Fellowship; created the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix; launched the YATOM Family Fellowship (now getting applications for its fourth cohort); launched and graduated the first cohort of the Teen Mussar Fellowship; and put in place the steps needed to integrate a social justice component to the overall mission of our organization.


2) Arizona Jews for Justice is recognized nationally for our work providing support for asylum seekers and refugees. We have already raised substantial funds, supplies, and attention for our work in this field. Arizona Jews for Justice recently hired our first staff person (a DREAMer), built a steering committee, and launched a newsletter to sustain interest. 




3) Valley Beit Midrash’s educational component is recognized nationally and internationally. 

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How do you measure the success of your program?

1) Locate ten (10) Jewish young professionals looking to be challenged to grow to the next level and looking to give back to the community in meaningful ways.


2) Coordinate 10 service learning projects by partnering with other local social justice organizations, as well as a 1-2 spiritual retreat(s).


3) To raise the communal bar for how leadership is modeled in the Jewish community through intention, moral values, and sensitivity to assist vulnerable populations, including the homeless, refugees, and asylum seekers.




4) We will survey participants in the program to measure growth and impact. 

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Emerging Jewish Leaders Mussar & Spirituality Retreat

About


A one-day, all-inclusive retreat for emerging leaders in their 20s that gives participants the space to cultivate new relationships, build community, relax, & explore the depths of Jewish spirituality.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?


In our community, emerging professionals in the Jewish community have not been invested in adequately. It is important that there are spaces for these young Jewish leaders, to talk, learn, grow, and enjoy one another’s camaraderie. The Emerging Jewish Leaders Mussar & Spirituality Retreat is a follow-up to Valley Beit Midrash’s similar event from 2016, which specifically engaged young professional men. This new one-day retreat for men and women will be filled with activities and workshops that emphasize the importance of meditative, ethical, and reflective practices in contemporary Judaism. The targeted age range for participants will be from 22-29. The topics for workshops and breakout sessions will employ dynamic learning approaches from thought-leaders across the denominational spectrum to illuminate and elucidate Jewish mystical practice, social interaction, relaxation, and vivacious & spirited leadership techniques to people unfamiliar with Judaism’s extensive repository of thought on the matter; this retreat is not frontal and formal but interactive, social, and relaxed. In addition, we will bring out an expert in the field to provide intellectual guidance to the participants of the retreat. The ultimate goal of the Emerging Jewish Leaders Mussar & Spirituality Retreat is that these particular members of the community will experience an intellectual and meaningful expression of Judaism away from the hustle and bustle of city life, all within the confines of a safe, supportive, and engaging space.

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Program Description

The retreat will be an immersive and fun experience that explores the Jewish spiritual traditions that enhance and elevate daily living. But more than formal text study, this retreat is about creating space for important conversations about relationships, dating/marriage/parenting, work/life balance, one's Jewish identity, happiness in life, and much more. By utilizing the study of Mussar (Jewish ethical and spiritual development) to deepen practices of spiritual meditation and connections both intimate and community-oriented, participants will benefit by having the ample opportunity to fully examine their inner worlds, their social bonds, and the room to explore their potentials for personal growth.

We are asking for $5,000 of a $15,000 overall budget.

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Demonstrated Need


For this program, Valley Beit Midrash seeks to build off a similar Young Professional Men’s (25-49) retreat held in 2016 at Jackpot Ranch in Camp Verde, AZ. This inaugural retreat from Valley Beit Midrash successfully introduced Jewish learning and spiritual concepts to a community that has hungered for more enlightening Jewish content. This retreat continues our response to provide the local community with programs that aim to provide new vistas of knowledge. In our view, Jewish learning should not only include programs for the mind, but should also cater to programs for the heart. Likewise, building interpersonal networks and building a stronger community is vital to Jewish continuity. There should be programs that allow participants the space to get to know one another and connect with one another. Due to this ethos, Valley Beit Midrash’s Emerging Jewish Leaders Mussar & Spirituality Retreat will harmonize the intellectual rigor of our regular events with a specialized Jewish learning orientation.

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Program Accomplishments

1) The Start Me Up! Fellowship and the exciting projects our cohorts have created; the creation of the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix; launching the YATOM Family Fellowship; launching the Teen Mussar Fellowship; being the pilot city for Honeymoon Israel; and putting in place the first steps towards integrating a social justice component to the overall mission of the organization.

2) Having a vibrant lecture series that continues to grow in scope, ambition, and attendance with each successive year.

3) Being a community leader in convening strategic philanthropic conversation and innovative programming structures.

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How do you measure the success of your program?


We will use survey results from the 2016 retreat to gauge how to plan the Emerging Leader retreat. As a continuation of last year’s Men’s Retreat, the success of the Emerging Leader retreat will be measured with several metrics. These include: measuring the amount of applications we receive, measuring the response of people with regards to social media interaction, involvement at and after event, and how many people would like the series to continue. In addition, we will do a formal evaluation with participants after the completion of the program. Valley Beit Midrash strongly stands behind the work that we’ve built in the past several years of strengthening spiritual growth and opportunities to grow inner Jewish development. We are confident that this will be a continuing learning series that will only increase in frequency and demand.

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Jewish Teen Service Learning Fellowship Series

About

The Jewish Teen Service Learning Fellowship Series is a
spiritually interactive and hands-on program meant to instill timeless Jewish
values for the next generation of leaders through the participation of monthly service
projects that benefit and enrich the local Jewish community.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

The mission and purpose of this program is to fill a need in the
Phoenix Jewish community, which is to empower teens to becoming leaders and
change-makers through local service projects.

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Program Description

Our program
is simple: to get sixteen (16) of the brightest teenage leaders from the Jewish
community and empower them to be leaders for positive change through a
year-long program of giving back. Each month, fellows will be involved in one
service project, whether it’s supporting people who are sick, seniors who need
some assistance, working at a food bank, to partnering and supporting local
organizations. At the end of the program, each fellow receives a stipend of $500. (We feel that having a stipend will lead to sustained interest, while retaining fellows over the course of the program).

Looking broadly, Valley Beit Midrash aims to see Phoenix as the
premier hub for Jewish youth-led change-making. One of the ways we see the
community flourishing is by focusing attention on teens and their desire to be
involved in local Jewish communal affairs. In the past, we hosted a Teen Mussar
Fellowship program, where each months fellows would learn an ethical Jewish character
trait. But after that program ended, there was a lot of talk from parents about
the need to continue engaging their teenagers in programs that furthered Jewish
service from outside a classroom setting. And we are aware of other
organizations that cater more exclusively to this demographic—Hebrew High,
B’nai Tzedek, BBYO, and the like—none of them are interested primarily in
service learning as a means of spiritual growth.

The Jewish Teen Service Learning Fellowship Series is a direct
response to this critical need. We intend to provide an outlet for young people
to engage and give back to their community through service projects; we care
most deeply about impact. We want Jewish teens to think deeply about what it
means to be a productive member of society. Through experience in running
teen-oriented Jewish educational programming,
have seen that the most effective means to engage people from different
backgrounds is for them to learn from experience, to take Jewish values out of
the theoretical realm and actualize them in the real world. And to give them
some financial incentive to do so. In this way, we broaden their knowledge base
of Jewish values while also ensuring a long-term form of engagement in a
population that will one day become leaders at the local level.

We are asking for $2,500 (of which all will go towards stipends only) of an overall project budget of
10,500.

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Demonstrated Need

Our community demands an immersive service learning development program for young leaders and the Jewish Teen Service Learning Fellowship Series fills this critical need. By creating and executing this program, an important population within the community gets the attention it deserve. While other teen-oriented organizations are used primarily for social networking, community interaction, or college prep, it is critical to keep sight of those unique individuals who will bring an energy that will sustain existing, or even new, institutions and organizations. This fellowship, in turn, will have a positive effect on the local Jewish population for decades to come.

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Program Accomplishments

1) The Start Me Up! Fellowship and the exciting projects our
cohorts have created; the creation of the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains
and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix; launching the YATOM Family
Fellowship (now getting applications for its third cohort); launching and
graduating the first cohort of the Teen Mussar Fellowship; being the pilot city
for Honeymoon Israel; and putting in place the first steps towards integrating
a social justice component to the overall mission of the organization.

2) Having a vibrant lecture series that continues to grow in
scope, ambition, and attendance with each successive year, while also building
a multimedia learning library with tens of thousands of listens and views.

3) Being a community leader in convening strategic philanthropic
conversation and innovative programming structures.

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How do you measure the success of your program?

1) Locate ten (10) Jewish teenagers looking to be challenged to grow to the next level and looking to give back.

2) Coordinate twelve (12) service learning project by partnering with other local organization.

3) To raise the communal bar for how leadership is modeled in the Jewish community through intention, moral values, and sensitivity to assist vulnerable populations.

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Mussar & Spirituality Retreat

About



A two day, all-inclusive retreat that gives participants the space to explore the depths of Jewish mysticism and spirituality in a welcoming environment. 


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What is the mission and purpose of this program?



This new Mussar & Spirituality Retreat will be a two day event filled with lectures and workshops that emphasize the importance of meditative practice in contemporary Judaism. The lecture topics will employ dynamic speakers and thought-leaders across the denominational spectrum to illuminate and elucidate Jewish mystical practice to people unfamiliar with Judaism’s extensive repository of thought on the matter. The ultimate goal of the Mussar & Spirituality Retreat is that, by having a cross-generational audience from all parts of the Jewish denominational spectrum, members of the community will experience an intellectual and meaningful expression of Judaism that they might not have know to have existed. 



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Program Description

This retreat will be a truly immersive experience that shall explore Jewish spiritual traditions that enhance and elevate life. By utilizing the study of Mussar (that is to say Jewish ethical and spiritual development) to develop practices of spiritual meditation, participants will benefit by having the opportunity to more fully examine their inner lives, relationships and explore opportunities for personal growth.


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Demonstrated Need

For this program, Valley Beit Midrash seeks to build off a similar Mussar retreat we held earlier in 2015. This inaugural retreat, the first of its kind in the United States, successfully introduced mystical, metaphysical concepts to a community that has hungered for more enlightening Jewish content. Until now, Valley Beit Midrash has not dedicated many events that tactilely  approach questions about how Jewish mysticism can affect people today, but this retreat will continue our response for a community that is vastly underserved; Jewish learning should not only include programs for the head, but should also cater to programs for the heart. Because of this ethos, Valley Beit Midrash seeks to harmonize the intellectual rigor of our regular events with this specialized programming venture. The breadth of the subject matter will be rewarding for our participants, and certainly one that will be of the utmost interest to a broad swath of the community.  


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Program Accomplishments

1.) Financial sustainability and leading the way in convening strategic philanthropic conversation and innovative programming structures.

2.) Having a successful lectures series, The Sy Sacks Memorial Lecture series, which brings speakers like writer Anita Diamant to Phoenix.  (Other speakers have included Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Member of the Knesset Rabbi Dov Lipman, Rabbi Sharon Brous, and Rabbi Irwin Kula.) 

3.) The Start Me Up! Fellowship and the exciting projects our cohorts have created; the creation of the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix.



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How do you measure the success of your program?

As a more ambitious iteration of a new program, the success of the Mussar & Spirituality Retreat will be measured with several metrics. These include: counting the amount of people who attend the first and final speaker and measuring the growth of attendance, measuring the response of people with regards to social media interaction and involvement at and after event, and how many people would like the series to continue. On a more intangible level, the way people respond during the lectures and the level of engagement will display the viability of the program in the future. 


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RIVKAH: Jewish Women's Speaker Series

About

A new lectures series dedicated to the intellecutal exploration of women in Jewish life. 

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

RIVKAH: Jewish Women's Speaker Series will be a series of lectures pertaining to the most pressing issues facing contemporary Jewish women around the world. The lecture topics will have a dynamic range, from matters about the role of Jewish women in politics, Jewish gender roles, Judaism and Feminism, Biblical wisdom for today's woman, female Jewish leadership in perspective, etc. As part of the series, a companion edition of the Valley Beit Midrash journal "KOLOT" will be compiled and published. The goal of RIVKAH is that by having a cross-generational audience from all parts of the Jewish denominational spectrum, all members of the community that would enjoy an intellectual perspective of Jewish women's issues will benefit. 


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Program Description

An engaging, intellectual speaker series that addresses vital issues that pertain to Jewish women in Phoenix. 

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Demonstrated Need

For this program, VBM wants to build off a panel event we held earlier in 2015 called "Everything You Wanted to Know About Orthodox Women (But Were Afraid To Ask!)" with a series of lectures that go right to the heart of issues contemporary Jewish women face. Until now, Valley Beit Midrash has not dedicated many events that seek to ask meaningful questions about how Jewish women affect society today, but this series of lectures will fix our response to a community that is vastly underserved. Valley Beit Midrash seeks to harmonize the intellectual rigor of our regular events with a more specialized programming venture. The depth of the subject matter will be rewarding for our audience, and certainly one that will be of the utmost interest to a broad swath of the community.  

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Program Accomplishments

1.) Having a successful lectures series, The Sy Sacks Memorial Lecture series, which brings speakers like writer Anita Diamant to Phoenix.  (Other speakers have included Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Member of the Knesset Rabbi Dov Lipman, Rabbi Sharon Brous, and Rabbi Irwin Kula.) 

2.) The Start Me Up! Fellowship and the exciting projects our cohorts have created; the creation of the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix.

3.) Financial sustainability and leading the way in convening strategic philanthropic conversation and innovative programming structures.


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How do you measure the success of your program?

As a new program, RIVKAH Women's Speaker Series' success will be measured with several metrics. These include: counting the amount of people who attend the first and final speaker and measuring the growth of attendance, measuring the response of people with regards to social media interaction and involvement at and after event, and how many people would like the series to continue after the first year. On a more intangible level, the way people respond during the lectures and the level of engagement will display the viability of the program for future seasons. 

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Spirituality Retreat For Russian-Speaking Jews

About

A two part, all-inclusive retreat in Sedona, AZ that gives participants the space to explore the depths of Jewish mysticism and spirituality in a welcoming environment.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

Valley Beit Midrash's Spirituality Retreat for Russian-Speaking Jews will be a two part event filled with lectures and workshops that emphasize the importance of meditative practice and leadership techniques in contemporary Jewish life. The lecture topics will employ dynamic speakers and thought-leaders across the denominational spectrum to illuminate Jewish mystical practice to people unfamiliar with Judaism’s extensive repository of thought on the matter. The ultimate goal of this Spirituality Retreat is that, by having a cross-generational audience from all parts of the Jewish denominational spectrum, members of the Russian-speaking Jewish community will experience an intellectual and meaningful expression of Judaism that they might not have know to have existed.

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Program Description

This retreat will be an immersive experience that explores Jewish spiritual traditions that enhance and elevate life. By utilizing the study of Jewish ethical development to develop practices of spiritual leadership, participants will benefit by having the opportunity to more fully examine their inner lives, relationships and explore opportunities for personal growth and community strenghtening.

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

For this program, Valley Beit Midrash seeks to build off a similar retreat we held in 2016. This inaugural retreat, the first of its kind in the United States, successfully introduced mystical, metaphysical concepts to a community that has hungered for more enlightening Jewish content. This retreat continues our response to develop programming for a sub-community that is vastly underserved and alienated from broader community affairs; Jewish learning should not only include programs for the head, but should also cater to programs for the heart. Because of this ethos, Valley Beit Midrash seeks to harmonize the intellectual rigor of our regular events with this specialized programming venture. The breadth of the subject matter will be rewarding for our participants, and certainly one that will be of the utmost interest to a broad swath of the community.

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

1) Being a community leader in convening strategic philanthropic conversation and innovative programming structures.

2) Having a vibrant lecture series that continues to grow in scope, ambition, and attendance with each successive year.

3) The Start Me Up! Fellowship and the exciting projects our cohorts have created; the creation of the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix; launching the YATOM Family Fellowship; launching the Teen Mussar Fellowship; being the pilot city for Honeymoon Israel; and putting in place the first steps towards integrating a social justice component to the overall mission of the organization.

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

We will utilize survey results from previous spirituality retreats we have hosted to gauge how to plan this retreat. This retreat will be measured with several metrics. These include: measuring the amount applications we receive, measuring the response of people with regards to social media interaction, involvement at and after event, and how many people would like the series to continue. In addition, we will do a formal evaluation with participants after the completion of the program. Valley Beit Midrash strongly stands behind the work that we’ve built in the past several years of fortifying spiritual growth and unique opportunities to enhance inner Jewish development. We are confident that this will be a continuing learning series that will increase in frequency and demand, especially as participants grow in their leadership roles in their respective communities.

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The ISAIAH Fellowship

About

The ISAIAH Fellowship seeks to train 10 young professionals between the ages of 22-32 who are transitioning from university life and emerging adulthood and inspire, connect, and educate them with practical and holistic wisdom so that they can learn the skills necessary to become effective and change-making leaders in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

The mission of the ISAIAH Fellowship is to identify young and unengaged Jewish leaders in their early 20s-early to 30s and broaden their potential for leadership in the community, inspire and train the next generation of leadership in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community and develop a sustainable young adult community, mobilize a talented group of emerging young professionals and challenge them to make a meaningful contribution for their community, inspire a more vibrant landscape for young leaders in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community, and finally, inspire young leaders to support local Jewish organizations and help them grow and thrive.

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Program Description

The ISAIAH Fellowship is an extension of VBM’s work in providing support to emerging young professional leaders in the Greater Phoenix Jewish Community. There is a significant gap in the local community between recent college graduates and young professionals and their involvement on boards and committees of local Jewish communal institutions and non-profits. VBM has been attending to this niche community in an effort to limit disinterest in the next generation of leaders. To stave off a potential crisis, we have nurtured talented individuals and given them a platform to hone their skills.

Previously, VBM successfully launched our Jewish Leadership Corps program in October 2014, and our Start Me Up! Fellowship is still going strong; we plan to go in a new direction with the ISAIAH Fellowship. This new fellowship will place more emphasis on meeting global scholars, being mentored by local leaders, and gaining hands-on training rather than the theories and techniques of being a leader. We still plan to bring top thought-leaders to the Phoenix area for workshops and seminars and provide high quality educational content to our fellows. There will also be a spiritual, intellectual, and mussar (character development) component to the program.

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Demonstrated Need

Our community demands a strong leadership development program for young professionals and the ISAIAH Fellowship helps fill this need. By creating and executing this program, an important and underserved niche population within the community gets the attention it deserves; this fellowship necessitates an explicit address to these young leaders. While other young professional organizations are used primarily for social networking and community interaction (which is important in its own right), it is critical to keep sight of those unique individuals who will bring an energy that will sustain existing, or even new, institutions and organizations. This fellowship, in turn, will have a positive effect on the local Jewish population for decades to come.

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

This is a new program, we do not have notable accomplishments as of this time. Based on the success of other Valley Beit Midrash young leadership initiatives, however, we are confident that this program will engender many successes in the years to come.

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How do you measure the success of your program?

Valley Beit Midrash intends to measure the success of the program in three (3) ways:

1) Locate ten (10) searching young Jewish adults who are looking to be challenged to grow to the next level.
2) To have a tangible impact on the larger community within several years of the completion of the fellowship that can be supported with hard data.
3) To raise the communal bar for how we exercise leadership in the Jewish community in intentional, sophisticated, and sensitive ways.

The measurement of these goals is both tangible and intangible, quantitative and qualitative. On the one hand, we can measure instant success by the amount of applications we receive, local interest in the program, and the acceptance of fellows. But on the other, our long-term goal is for the community to be enriched by the learning & wisdom these fellows gain during the course of their time in the program. This is an aspect of the program that is more abstract, but vital nonetheless. It is our hope that, when taken together, the ultimate measure of success of this program will be seen as a community-wide paradigm shift, where our fellows bring innovative insights to local institutional boards and organizations.

Back to Top

The ISAIAH Fellowship

About

The ISAIAH Fellowship seeks to train 10 young professionals between the ages of 22-32 who are transitioning from university life and emerging adulthood and inspire, connect, and educate them with practical and holistic wisdom so that they can learn the skills necessary to become effective and change-making leaders in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community.

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

The mission of the ISAIAH Fellowship is to identify young and unengaged Jewish leaders in their early 20s-early to 30s and broaden their potential for leadership in the community, inspire and train the next generation of leadership in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community and develop a sustainable young adult community, mobilize a talented group of emerging young professionals and challenge them to make a meaningful contribution for their community, inspire a more vibrant landscape for young leaders in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community, and finally, inspire young leaders to support local Jewish organizations and help them grow and thrive.

Back to Top

Program Description

The ISAIAH Fellowship is an extension of VBM’s work in providing support to emerging young professional leaders in the Greater Phoenix Jewish Community. There is a significant gap in the local community between recent college graduates and young professionals and their involvement on boards and committees of local Jewish communal institutions and non-profits. VBM has been attending to this niche community in an effort to limit disinterest in the next generation of leaders. To stave off a potential crisis, we have nurtured talented individuals and given them a platform to hone their skills.

Previously, VBM successfully launched our Jewish Leadership Corps program in October 2014, and our Start Me Up! Fellowship is still going strong; we plan to go in a new direction with the ISAIAH Fellowship. This new fellowship will place more emphasis on meeting global scholars, being mentored by local leaders, and gaining hands-on training rather than the theories and techniques of being a leader. We still plan to bring top thought-leaders to the Phoenix area for workshops and seminars and provide high quality educational content to our fellows. There will also be a spiritual, intellectual, and mussar (character development) component to the program.

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

Our community demands a strong leadership development program for young professionals and the ISAIAH Fellowship helps fill this need. By creating and executing this program, an important and underserved niche population within the community gets the attention it deserves; this fellowship necessitates an explicit address to these young leaders. While other young professional organizations are used primarily for social networking and community interaction (which is important in its own right), it is critical to keep sight of those unique individuals who will bring an energy that will sustain existing, or even new, institutions and organizations. This fellowship, in turn, will have a positive effect on the local Jewish population for decades to come.

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

This is a new program, we do not have notable accomplishments as of this time. Based on the success of other Valley Beit Midrash young leadership initiatives, however, we are confident that this program will engender many successes in the years to come.

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

Valley Beit Midrash intends to measure the success of the program in three (3) ways:

1) Locate ten (10) searching young Jewish adults who are looking to be challenged to grow to the next level.
2) To have a tangible impact on the larger community within several years of the completion of the fellowship that can be supported with hard data.
3) To raise the communal bar for how we exercise leadership in the Jewish community in intentional, sophisticated, and sensitive ways.

The measurement of these goals is both tangible and intangible, quantitative and qualitative. On the one hand, we can measure instant success by the amount of applications we receive, local interest in the program, and the acceptance of fellows. But on the other, our long-term goal is for the community to be enriched by the learning & wisdom these fellows gain during the course of their time in the program. This is an aspect of the program that is more abstract, but vital nonetheless. It is our hope that, when taken together, the ultimate measure of success of this program will be seen as a community-wide paradigm shift, where our fellows bring innovative insights to local institutional boards and organizations.

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Valley Beit Midrash Spirituality Retreat

About


A day and a half, all-inclusive retreat that allows participants (targeting ages 25-40) to have the space to explore the depths of Jewish spirituality and renewal in a welcoming, pluralistic environment.  


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What is the mission and purpose of this program?



This spirituality Retreat will be an event that, over the course of its two day cycle, will be filled with lectures and workshops that emphasize the importance of spiritual and meditative practice through the lens of classical and contemporary Jewish thought. The lecture topics will use dynamic speakers and thought-leaders across the denominational spectrum to illuminate and elucidate Jewish mystical practice to people unfamiliar with Judaism’s extensive repository of thought on the matter. The ultimate goal of this Spirituality Retreat is to nourish the ethical passion of our main target: members of the  young professional community in Phoenix. Though it will be open to all, VBM hopes that by focusing attention on young professionals, they will experience an intellectual and meaningful expression of Judaism that they might not have known existed. In turn, they will leave the retreat inspired and ready to tackle challenges with foresight and renewed clarity. Of course, a primary goal is to build community. 



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Program Description


Our hope is that this retreat will be an immersive experience that explores Jewish spiritual traditions that enhance and elevate critical thinking and professional relationship building. By studying classical texts alongside cutting-edge contemporary works of Mussar (that is to say Jewish ethical and spiritual development) and philosophy, participants will have an opportunity to examine their inner core, their relationships (personal and professional) and explore the vast opportunities for personal spiritual growth.


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Demonstrated Need


For this program, Valley Beit Midrash seeks to build off a similar Mussar retreat we held earlier in 2015 as well the work we’ve done with our Start Me Up! and Jewish Leadership Corps Fellowships. Further, VBM is starting to partner with PJLibrary and they have many young families that are hungry to connect and grow. With the introduction of Honeymoon Israel as another program under VBM’s purview, VBM is now fully engaged in creating formative experiences for young professionals (in addition to our continuing education work). Indeed, until now, Valley Beit Midrash has not dedicated many events that tactilely approach questions about how Jewish spirituality and wisdom can affect people today, but this retreat will continue our response for a community that is vastly underserved; Jewish learning should not only include programs for the head, but should cater to programs for the heart. Because of this ethos, Valley Beit Midrash harmonizes the intellectual rigor of our regular events with this specialized programming venture. 


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Program Accomplishments


1.) Financial sustainability and leading the way in convening strategic philanthropic conversation and innovative programming structures.



2.) Having a successful lectures series, The Sy Sacks Memorial Lecture series, which brings speakers like writer Anita Diamant to Phoenix.  (Other speakers have included Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Member of the Knesset Rabbi Dov Lipman, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Professor Jonathan Sarna, Rabbi David Wolpe and Rabbi Irwin Kula.) This past summer, VBM also announced the introduction of the Hammerman Family Lecture Series as another venue to bring top speakers to the Phoenix area.



3.) The Start Me Up! Fellowship and the exciting projects our cohorts have created; the creation of the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix; being one of the first organizations to pilot Honeymoon Israel as a sustainable, long-term nationwide program.


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How do you measure the success of your program?


As a more ambitious iteration of a new program, the success of this Spirituality Retreat will be measured by several metrics. These include: counting the amount of people who attend the first and final speaker and measuring the growth of attendance, measuring the response of people with regards to social media interaction and involvement at and after event, and how many people would like the series to continue. But on a more intangible level, VBM will measure the way people respond during the program, their level of engagement, and—should we be successful— the viability of the program to be used as model for other organizations/synagogues/Federations to emulate. 


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Young Professional Women’s Mussar Retreat

About


A one-day, all-inclusive women's retreat that gives participants the space to cultivate new relationships, build community, relax, & explore the depths of Jewish spirituality.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

In our community, Jewish women h ave not been invested in adequately. It is important that there are spaces for women, and led by women, to talk, learn, grow, and enjoy one another. The Young Women’s Mussar Retreat is a follow-up to Valley Beit Midrash’s similar event from 2016, which engaged young professional men. This one-day retreat will be filled with activities and workshops that emphasize the importance of meditative, ethical, and reflective practices in contemporary Judaism. The targeted age range for participants will be from 25-49. The topics for workshops and breakout sessions will employ dynamic learning approaches from thought-leaders across the denominational spectrum to illuminate and elucidate Jewish mystical practice, social interaction, relaxation, and vivacious & spirited leadership techniques to people unfamiliar with Judaism’s extensive repository of thought on the matter; this retreat is not frontal and formal but interactive, social, and relaxed. In addition, we will bring out an expert in the field to provide intellectual guidance to the participants of the retreat. The ultimate goal of the Young Women’s Mussar Retreat is that these particular members of the community will experience an intellectual and meaningful expression of Judaism away from the hustle and bustle of city life, all within the confines of a safe, supportive, and engaging space.

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Program Description

The retreat will be an immersive and fun experience that explores the Jewish spiritual traditions that enhance and elevate daily living. But more than formal text study, this retreat is about creating space for important conversations about relationships, dating/marriage/parenting, work/life balance, one's Jewish identity, happiness in life, and much more. By utilizing the study of Mussar (Jewish ethical and spiritual development) to deepen practices of spiritual meditation and connections both intimate and community-oriented, participants will benefit by having the ample opportunity to fully examine their inner worlds, their social bonds, and the room to explore their potentials for personal growth.

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Demonstrated Need

For this program, Valley Beit Midrash seeks to build off a similar Young Professional Men’s retreat held in 2016 at Jackpot Ranch in Camp Verde, AZ. This inaugural retreat from Valley Beit Midrash successfully introduced Jewish learning and spiritual concepts to a community that has hungered for more enlightening Jewish content. This retreat continues our response to provide the local community with programs that aim to provide new vistas of knowledge. In our view, Jewish learning should not only include programs for the mind, but should also cater to programs for the heart. Likewise, building interpersonal networks and building a stronger community is vital to Jewish continuity. There should be programs that allow participants the space to get to know one another and connect with one another. Due to this ethos, Valley Beit Midrash’s Young Professional Mussar retreats harmonize the intellectual rigor of our regular events with a specialized Jewish learning orientation.

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Program Accomplishments

1) Being a community leader in convening strategic philanthropic conversation and innovative programming structures.

2) Having a vibrant lecture series that continues to grow in scope, ambition, and attendance with each successive year.

3) The Start Me Up! Fellowship and the exciting projects our cohorts have created; the creation of the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix; launching the YATOM Family Fellowship; launching the Teen Mussar Fellowship; being the pilot city for Honeymoon Israel; and putting in place the first steps towards integrating a social justice component to the overall mission of the organization.

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How do you measure the success of your program?

We will use survey results from the 2016 retreat to gauge how to plan the Young Women’s retreat. As a continuation of last year’s Men’s Retreat, the success of the Young Women’s retreat will be measured with several metrics. These include: measuring the amount applications we receive, measuring the response of people with regards to social media interaction, involvement at and after event, and how many people would like the series to continue. In addition, we will do a formal evaluation with participants after the completion of the program Valley Beit Midrash strongly stands behind the work that we’ve built in the past several years of strengthening spiritual growth and opportunities to grow inner Jewish development. We are confident that this will be a continuing learning series that will only increase in frequency and demand.

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Young Professional Women’s Mussar Retreat 


About

A one-day, all-inclusive women's retreat that gives participants the space to cultivate new relationships, build community, relax, & explore the depths of Jewish spirituality.

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

In our community, Jewish women have not been invested in adequately. It is important that there are spaces for women, and led by women, to talk, learn, grow, and enjoy one another. The Young Women’s Mussar Retreat is a follow-up to Valley Beit Midrash’s similar event from 2016, which engaged young professional men. This one-day retreat will be filled with activities and workshops that emphasize the importance of meditative, ethical, and reflective practices in contemporary Judaism. The targeted age range for participants will be from 25-49. The topics for workshops and breakout sessions will employ dynamic learning approaches from thought-leaders across the denominational spectrum to illuminate and elucidate Jewish mystical practice, social interaction, relaxation, and vivacious & spirited leadership techniques to people unfamiliar with Judaism’s extensive repository of thought on the matter; this retreat is not frontal and formal but interactive, social, and relaxed. In addition, we will bring out an expert in the field to provide intellectual guidance to the participants of the retreat. The ultimate goal of the Young Women’s Mussar Retreat is that these particular members of the community will experience an intellectual and meaningful expression of Judaism away from the hustle and bustle of city life, all within the confines of a safe, supportive, and engaging space.

Back to Top

Program Description


The retreat will be an immersive and fun experience that explores the Jewish spiritual traditions that enhance and elevate daily living. But more than formal text study, this retreat is about creating space for important conversations about relationships, dating/marriage/parenting, work/life balance, one's Jewish identity, happiness in life, and much more. By utilizing the study of Mussar (Jewish ethical and spiritual development) to deepen practices of spiritual meditation and connections both intimate and community-oriented, participants will benefit by having the ample opportunity to fully examine their inner worlds, their social bonds, and the room to explore their potentials for personal growth.

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

For this program, Valley Beit Midrash seeks to build off a similar Young Professional Men’s retreat held in 2016 at Jackpot Ranch in Camp Verde, AZ. This inaugural retreat from Valley Beit Midrash successfully introduced Jewish learning and spiritual concepts to a community that has hungered for more enlightening Jewish content. This retreat continues our response to provide the local community with programs that aim to provide new vistas of knowledge. In our view, Jewish learning should not only include programs for the mind, but should also cater to programs for the heart. Likewise, building interpersonal networks and building a stronger community is vital to Jewish continuity. There should be programs that allow participants the space to get to know one another and connect with one another. Due to this ethos, Valley Beit Midrash’s Young Professional Mussar retreats harmonize the intellectual rigor of our regular events with a specialized Jewish learning orientation.

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

1) Being a community leader in convening strategic philanthropic conversation and innovative programming structures.

2) Having a vibrant lecture series that continues to grow in scope, ambition, and attendance with each successive year.

3) The Start Me Up! Fellowship and the exciting projects our cohorts have created; the creation of the Jewish Leadership Corps that trains and inspires future Jewish leaders in Phoenix; launching the YATOM Family Fellowship; launching the Teen Mussar Fellowship; being the pilot city for Honeymoon Israel; and putting in place the first steps towards integrating a social justice component to the overall mission of the organization.

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

We will use survey results from the 2016 retreat to gauge how to plan the Young Women’s retreat. As a continuation of last year’s Men’s Retreat, the success of the Young Women’s retreat will be measured with several metrics. These include: measuring the amount applications we receive, measuring the response of people with regards to social media interaction, involvement at and after event, and how many people would like the series to continue. In addition, we will do a formal evaluation with participants after the completion of the program Valley Beit Midrash strongly stands behind the work that we’ve built in the past several years of strengthening spiritual growth and opportunities to grow inner Jewish development. We are confident that this will be a continuing learning series that will only increase in frequency and demand.

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