Philadelphia and San Francisco may be at opposite ends of the country, but the two cities got a little bit closer recently, thanks to a significant grant awarded to a local education organization based in Montgomery County.
The Jewish Outreach Partnership in Melrose Park was awarded a $150,000 Signature Grant by the board of directors of the Covenant Foundation in late December, said JOP executive director Rabbi Philip Warmflash. He noted that it was the largest grant ever awarded to the organization from an outside entity.
The funds, the rabbi continued, will be used to expand JOP's Reshet program to include San Francisco and another four U.S. cities in the next three years. One of the other communities considered for inclusion in the pilot program is the Jewish Federation of Delaware.
"Reshet" means "network" in Hebrew.
As part of the National Reshet Network for Synagogue Strength, JOP staff members train synagogue leaders in other communities through issue-based forums, workshops and consultations that are designed to create locally based Jewish communal leaders within the synagogue setting instead of having to rely on outside consultants.
This will then allow the entities involved to share resources and information — including what's worked and what hasn't — with each other, as synagogues face common issues, explained Warmflash, who described the program as both a "911 and 411 for synagogues."