A major gift from Stephen J. Savitsky, former OU president, and his wife, Genie, established the Savitsky Communal Growth Initiative. This signifi cant investment formally expands the OU’s strategic resources supporting the development of the broader North American Jewish community.
As OU president, Mr. Savitsky launched the OU’s popular Jewish Community Relocation Fair in 2008 as a way for Jewish communities across North America to showcase what they could offer to families looking to relocate to communities with Orthodox Jewish amenities, employment opportunities and more affordable living.
We work at building resilient and healthy families who are passionate about Torah values — but nobody has all the answers. Our GenAleph Parents from Houston participate in the OU’s GenAleph program, an initiative focused on raising the next generation of passionate and committed Jews. initiative tries to provide as many of these answers as possible through helpful resources like classes, articles, a weekly podcast and more.
We launched our podcast, “The Jews Next Dor — Raising the Next Generation of Passionate and Committed Jews,” to help people understand Jewish parenting from the ground up. Hosted by Rabbi Yair Menchel, listeners get expert advice from leading scholars, spiritual leaders and others about how to raise committed Jews in today’s fraught landscape.
To expand our reach, we’ve added in-person programs in four cities: Houston, Cincinnati, Boca Raton and Hollywood, FL. Over the coming year, we plan to add six more locations. Also new this year is our website, GenAleph.org, which offers a robust set of resources for the Torah community. This includes our podcast, on-demand classes, compelling articles and more. With weekly emails linking to our content, readers can easily access a treasure trove of advice.
SPIRIT, our program for older adults, understands that retirees, baby boomers, empty nesters and seniors have distinct needs. SPIRIT participants hail from 45 states in the U.S., Canada, Israel and 26 other countries. We have a regular schedule of talks that provide spiritual, educational, physical and intellectual stimulation along with critical social connections.
SPIRIT sessions are both hybrid (with an in-person audience) and virtual and include timely topics like aliyah after retirement, navigating family relationships, fi nancial and legal matters for retirees and various medical concerns of older adults.
Living an observant Jewish lifestyle can be costly — even though the rewards are priceless. Many in our community need help understanding how to make their finances work for their lifestyle, manage their money and plan wisely for the future.
Our Living Smarter Jewish initiative helps with sound advice from experts, engaging content and coaching (more than 2,000 families so far) — all at no cost. We offer both introductory and advanced fi nancial curriculums for high schools, since being smart with money can’t happen too soon. Other resources include the Kosher Money podcast and website with advice for investing, and the Common Cents blog for demystifying fi nance, understanding life insurance, money management and budgeting.
In partnership with leading halachic authorities and eruv builders, we have developed innovative software for city eruv builders and maintainers to document all dimensions of an eruv. Among other features, the software captures the precise location and construction of lechis (halachic posts) using geolocation and various media.
The companion app and website support the city eruv representatives through eruv construction, checking and maintenance.
In October, the OU hosted its inaugural City Eruv Conference, attracting over 60 participants from a diverse religious spectrum, ranging from modern Orthodox to Chassidish communities. These participants delved into best practices and explored the new eruv software, representing 40 cities. Many manage multiple eruvin: one individual oversees 30 eruvin in Lakewood, and another has constructed nearly 60 across North America. In total, the conference infl uenced hundreds of eruvin throughout the continent. The software, initiated in its beta phase last year, is now accessible globally, with various North American communities already using it.
"I SO APPRECIATED THE “SPIRIT FAMILY FEUD” VIDEO FROM DEBORAH LAUFER, ESQ. BEING A SOCIAL WORKER MYSELF, I AM VERY WELL AWARE OF ACTIVE LISTENING. HOWEVER, I LEARNED A LOT FROM HER PRESENTATION AND APPRECIATED HER PERSONAL COMMENTS AND HER VERY CLEAR WAY OF SPEAKING. SHE GAVE ME SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT. . . . ALL THE BEST AND THANK YOU FOR SPIRIT!”