End-of-year gifts from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation to area synagogues and Jewish educational programs will total more than $1 million, the Foundation has announced.
Additionally, an initial gift of more than $1 million will begin a new multi-year program to provide a scholarship to any child attending a Jewish overnight camp, as well as opportunities for travel to Israel.
The gifts to synagogues throughout Monroe and Ontario Counties, significantly larger than in past years, are unrestricted and are based on synagogue membership. The additional grants for Jewish education will be made to the four Jewish day schools and to local Hebrew school programs according to their respective enrollments. More than 800 students now attend those day schools or religious school programs.
The new camp scholarship program will start in the summer of 2016 and will be administered by the Farash Institute for Jewish Education. The Institute will announce details of the program in January 2015.
“We are pleased to make significant gifts to the synagogues, to educational programs, to camping, and to Israel travel—all vital ingredients in the religious and cultural lives of our families and young ones,” said Nathan J. Robfogel, chair of the Foundation’s board of trustees. “From day one, Jewish life and education have been at the core of our priorities. We are glad to take a comprehensive approach in supporting those activities in our current grant cycles.”
Isobel Goldman, Foundation director of grants and programs, said that “the camp and Israel scholarship program will be the first initiative of the Farash Institute for Jewish Education.”
Goldman said that the scholarships for overnight camping—for any camper living in the nine counties of the Greater Rochester area—will be available for camping experiences at Jewish camps across the country as well for travel in Israel. The scholarship program will be offered in conjunction with the national Foundation for Jewish Camp.
“We should not underestimate the importance of the camp experience and Israel travel,” Goldman said. “In fact, research supports the idea that these experiences are at the center of Jewish education and Jewish identity, effectively lasting into adulthood.”
A study by the Foundation for Jewish Camp examined surveys of 26 Jewish communities, comparing the attitudes and behaviors of adults who had attended Jewish camp as children with those who did not. The research found that camp attendance increases the likelihood of adult participation in and identification with Judaism. A separate study of young Jewish leaders showed that more than two-thirds of them had attended summer camp.