Jewish Film Festival

Coming Soon

May 4-8, 2014, Celebration! Cinema North

The 16th Annual Jewish Film Festival of Grand Rapids has an exciting lineup of films to be screened from Sunday, May 4 through Thursday, May 8 at Celebration! Cinema North. This year's offerings, ranging from family entertainment to Holocaust themes, once again promise to whet the appetite of all interested in Jewish films.

The Festival is bracketed by a free musical reception and the traditional community dinner, this year of Eastern European fare. Great thanks is owed to the Film Festival Committee for their tireless work in bringing our community this annual feast of films.

To support the Jewish Film Festival, please complete this sponsor sheet. To learn more about the films, programs and costs to attend, please click here or contact the Federation office at or (616) 942-5553.

Grand Rapids Jewish News

Shofar Newsletters

Pew Study on American Jews

Survey of U.S. Jewish Population Sparks Debate

The Pew Research Center's study of American Jews released last fall has prompted a great deal of discussion and debate about the future of Jews in America. The Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids invites our community to participate in this discussion as we consider the information in the survey in regard to the future of the Grand Rapids Jewish community.


A copy of the study entitled A Portrait of Jewish Americans: Findings from a Pew Reseach Center Survey of U.S. Jews can be found here. While a lengthy read at 214 pages, its many summaries, charts and graphs can be easily reviewed as time permits. Also, the Jewish Federations of North America has linked to much of the media coverage, and an analysis from a Brandeis University researcher offers further reading. Finally, JFGR's new partners at PJ Library prepared a letter in response to the survey that may be of interest.


Please let us know your thoughts about the study and what local Jewish communal response to it may be appropriate. You may contact JFGR's executive director, Mike Presant, at (616) 942-5553, x207, or

World News Headlines
- from JTA

Cultural Council Programs in Progress

2014 Spectrum Series

The Cultural Council of the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids is currently presenting its 2014 Spectrum Series. The four programs running from January to June offer a wide variety of events designed to broadly appeal to the Grand Rapids Jewish Community: Jewish bread baking; Klezmer music; an American-Israeli basketball player; and Jews in China.

Please click here for program details and to learn how to become a sponsor of this exciting Spectrum Series. If you have any questions, contact Sari at (616) 942-5553 or

What's Your "ish" Join the campaign that encourages young Jews of all stripes to share what being Jewish means to them - their #ish


Donate Now!

Support the Jews in Ukraine

Ukraine Assistance Fund Established

The Jewish Federations of North America has established a Ukraine Assistance Fund to help the more than 300,000 Jews in the Ukraine caught in the cross-fire of the escalating situation. While not outright targets of violence, our fellow Jews' basic needs for food and other goods and services are growing rapidly. Our international partners, notably the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Jewish Agency and World ORT, are on the ground providing support to the those in need.

Please click on Ukraine Assistance Fund to support this effort. Thank you.

Purim Carnival 2014

    The PJ Library is Open!

    New Program for Young Families in the Grand Rapids area

    The PJ Library is an innovative program that offers the gift of free, high quality Jewish books to children 6 months to 8 years old. These books help to celebrate important aspects of Jewish culture, values and tradition. We are grateful to the Ravitz Foundation, the Rosenzweig-Coopersmith Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for underwriting this new initiative of Federation.

    Information about PJ Library and how to sign up, along with a sample book, is coming by mail during the High Holidays. Parents can also sign up their children by clicking here and, if you live in our Regions Covered, primarily Kent and Ottawa Counties in Michigan, simply click on the 'Sign up in this Community' button.

    You can learn more about PJ Library at Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Federation office at or (616) 942-5553 and ask for Mike or Sari.

    Caring for the Elderly

    There are 35 million people aged 65 or older currently in the U.S, representing 12.8% of the general

    More than 19% of the Jewish community is over age 65.

    About 60% of those over the age of 65 are women

    35% of older women live alone, compared to 14% of men

    An estimated 40% of all elderly individuals will spend part of their lives in nursing homes

    Nearly a quarter of the nation's elderly population requires some assistance with activities of dail

    Elderly Jews utilize long term care facilities at 1.5 times the national rate

    By 2030, the number of people over the age of 65 in the general population will double to 70 million

    The fastest growing segment of the population is those over the age of 85

    In 1997, 40% of those over the age of 65 had income that was less than 200% of the poverty level

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