DFI Honors Three Collaborative Programs

Michael Brandwein gives his keynote speech at DFI JPRO Day last month.

Michael Brandwein gives his keynote speech at DFI JPRO Day last month.he Darrell D. Friedman Institute for Professional Development at the Weinberg Center (DFI) honored three collaborative community initiatives and programs at its annual JPRO Day in August.

The programs were chosen as the top three submissions to DFI’s “Challenge of Collaborations,” which had 18 community organizations submit.

The winning program, which received a $1,000 grant, was Jewish Community Gardening, the first runner-up was Four Rabbis, Five Opinions, and the second runner-up was the Center for Jewish Education’s Jewish Deaf-Blind Shabbaton.

Jewish Community Gardening, whose partner organizations include the Pearlstone Center, Beth El Congregation, Netivot Shalom, Weinberg Gardens, the Owings Mills JCC Early Childhood Education Center, the Harford Jewish Center, Hopkins Hillel, Temple Oheb Shalom, Needs to Grow and the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership, built community gardens that fused outdoor environmental experiences with Jewish education. Four Rabbis, Five Opinions, started by Rabbis Josh Snyder, Etan Mintz, Daniel Burg and Jessy Gross, seeks to engage young adults in informal settings while having meaningful Jewish conversations. Deaf-Blind Shabbaton, with partner organizations Jewish Advocates for Deaf Education, OU Our Way and Towson University, is a weekend Shabbaton for deaf and blind Jewish people and their families.

“They really collaborated with unique organizations, not just the normal expected collaborative parties, so they really went outside the box,” said DFI Executive Director Cindy Goldstein. “Each of them were innovative, and each of them really engaged new audiences, new groups of people that had not been engaged previously in the community.”

The winners were presented at DFI’s JPRO day, which was attended by 150 Jewish professionals. The theme of the day was “communicate and collaborate: leadership of self and others to achieve collaboration and successfully meet your goals.”

“It was a perfect opportunity for professionals to hear about what was going on in the community and to be inspired to do their own collaborations,” Goldstein said.

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