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February 2010 - Conference Call and Links


Dear Friend,
We hope this note finds you and your family in good health. 
We are thrilled that so many of you joined us for our ChampionsGate conference call on Wednesday! For those of you who were unable to join, please click here for an audio recording of the call (click the link, enter your first name- that is all that's required- and submit) and click here to read the minutes.



See below for a copy of the ChampionsGate Mid-Year Report that was mailed to you last week. The Report highlights some of the initiatives we have been working on with our ChampionsGate Community and were mentioned in the conference call. These are projects that have emerged directly from our work together at past conferences. 


First, we have formally launched  "The Guide to Community Growth: A How-to Kit"-  an outstanding resource, which, along with the "YUvillage" website,  markets exceptional emerging Jewish communities to young families around North America. This entire effort would not have been possible without the tireless dedication and vision of the ChampionsGate Leadership Task Force Team who, together with our Department of Community Initiatives, helped shape and implement this project from beginning to end.  We thank and acknowledge Co-Chairs Rick Guttman (Houston), Barbara Ast (St. Louis), Rabbi Daniel Alter (Denver), Josh Kahane (Memphis), and David Zoller (Dallas).  

Second, we are delighted to share with you the final YU Speakers Bureau website that was debuted at ChampionsGate. The feedback and guidance that so many of you shared before, during, and after the conference has been critical in forming what promises to be a wonderful resource to our communities across North America and the world. 


We are pleased that so much energy and enthusiasm from ChampionsGate IV continues to create new dividends via current "Task Force" Teams. Below is a brief update on three of our active ChampionsGate Task Force Teams which continue to work diligently along with YU CJF staff addressing important issues discussed at last summer's conference.  

1)      Year in Israel:  The group has expanded and added members from the educational and lay perspectives. Some members have met over vacation periods in Israel and articles and comments between them have created a lively dialogue. Currently, the group is enhancing the Guide to Israel Schools website at while proposing innovative ideas that would assist both school advisors and families in decision-making and support surrounding this pivotal year.
Kol Hakavod to the task force team consisting of Dr. Hillel Davis, Rabbi Jay Goldmintz, Dorit Guttman, Mindy Mitzner, Ari Solomont, and Ted Struhl.


2)      School Affordability: This task force, which merged with the "Board Practices and Governance" group from ChampionsGate, is led by Harry Bloom of Azrieli's Institute for University-School Partnership, along with Avi Lauer, Chief Legal Counsel. The team has been updated on cutting-edge research and specific training support given to target communities, like the Five Towns of Long Island.  We wish to acknowledge Bernard Hasten and Ann Pava who have served as co-chairs of this group along with a large committed team of ChampionsGate participants.
For those interested in learning more about this task force, and the important work of the Institue for University-School Partnership, please click on the links below.


     a. Summary of research on economic realities click here  

     b. Recommendations for better governance in our day schools click here 


3)      YUConnects/ Increasing Singles' Opportunities : This team has just launched a seminal Shabbat event: "YUConnects Coast to Coast" is planned for May 7-8, 2010 as a nationwide weekend which is dedicated to providing opportunities to Orthodox singles.  With help from outstanding task force leaders across the country, Dr. Efrat Sobolofsky's "YUConnects" organization is eliciting the participation of communities which will be hosting shabbatons, seminars, symposiums, shiurim and events all supporting awareness of the issue.  In addition, copies of educational resources including dvds, articles and guides will be distributed in the upcoming months to facilitate the project.  Much appreciation goes to the efforts of Sharon Blumenthal, Michael Feldstein (chair), Debbie Goldenberg, Cheryl Nagel, Betty Nissenfeld and Chaya Schwartz  for overseeing this project. Anyone with questions or interested in getting involved feel free to contact 


Kudos to those involved; members of the ChampionsGate Community who are interested in giving guidance and input into these groups are welcome to join and contribute! 

Warmest regards and Shabbat Shalom, 


 Rabbi Ari Rockoff 
 Director, Division of Community Partnership 
 Center for the Jewish Future 
 Yeshiva University