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Subject Line: Black Mitzvah—and More Mitzvahs—in LA

Dear Friends:

The days are getting longer—as are our growing list of adoptive families and communities that want to become Second Nurture partners!

At Wilshire Boulevard Temple, we now have 16 families who want to foster and adopt. Eleven have children at home, five of whom have now adopted their foster children. And we are growing LA County-wide as well. We are expanding our work to eight more Jewish communities, have started information sessions to recruit foster families and are thrilled with the interest we have found. Stay tuned for the official partnership announcements after Passover!

In February, we held our first educational roundtable with rabbis and Jewish educators in LA to test our educational materials that lift up and link the themes of fostering and adoption with Jewish lives today. As one rabbi said at the end of the session, “This text study is so important. It’s not just an announcement about fostering and adopting, we are engaging in a deep way.” In 2020, we are planning more roundtables and will hold them this spring in Chicago and Boston. Please let us know if you are interested in joining these events.

In case you missed it, Second Nurture founder and Executive Director officiated the bat mitzvah for Tiffany Haddish, Second Nurture’s newest board member, in December, the same day Haddish turned 40 years old and released her new Netflix comedy special, “Black Mitzvah.”

Finally, we want to thank all of you that have generously supported our work. We are well on our way pleased to raising the funds we need to secure a 3-to-1 match from our board member and generous donor Nehama Benmosche. Your combined support has allowed us to grow in LA—and we look forward to telling you about our wonderful new foster and adoptive families as they grow!

Dear Friends:

Even as these autumn days shorten, our joys, possibilities — and personnel — ever expand.

We’re so happy to welcome Danny Stewart, James Cohen, and Tiffany Haddish to the Second Nurture Board of Directors. Their incredible experiences and passionate concern for foster kids make them true champions for our mission.

James Cohen fought the State of Florida to win his right to foster and adopt a child as a gay man.

A former foster child, author, and comedy and film superstar Tiffany Haddish developed her comedic chops in part as a way to deal with the pain and uncertainty that are too often a foster child’s lot.

Huge news from our cohort at Wilshire Boulevard Temple: Three new forever families

Talia and Evan officially adopted delightful toddler August in September.

Astor’s new dad Gerry is over the moon...Astor officially became his son in October….

And, also in October, Andy and Nicole finalized the adoption of their foster son David.

We are in the process of expanding the WBT cohort, formalizing the synagogue’s community-based support network, and identifying new partner synagogues in LA county.

It is a time of immense growth, and we are excited by the potential to get kids out of the system and into loving, devoted families who, themselves, are supported by a caring, steadfast community. Thank you for helping us make it a reality!

Last but not least, we’re happy to announce that we’ve just placed our Jewish adoption materials with three synagogues in LA as well as another eight nationwide. They are beautifully designed, very contemporary and cool, and vividly lift up and link the themes of fostering and adoption, loss, abandonment, and spiritual renewal in Jewish history with Jewish lives today.

Please give them a look—we’d love to get your feedback and suggestions. Just click any one of the following links to view our Purim, Passover, Shavuot, and High Holidays and Sukkot resources. Wilshire Boulevard, Stephen S. Wise, and the IKAR synagogues are all now using them.

לצמח ולהצמח

May you flourish and help others to flourish,


This is truly the summer of love! So much has been happening, all of it good -- no, great.

In California. . .

Los Angeles: Second Nurture board member Rabbi Nehama Benmosche took off the kid gloves and stepped up with a critical $720,000, three-year pledge, key to strengthening staffing and increasing organizational momentum. We've hired Talia Green to be our Director of Programs and are super excited to have such an exceedingly competent and hard-working professional on our team! We are deeply appreciative of Benmosche's generosity, as well as her commitment--both professional and personal--toward ensuring that every child has a family while carrying forward the profoundly generous legacy of Benmosche philanthropy. Thank you, Nehama.

Thanks to increases in our educational efforts (see the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption info at the bottom of this newsletter) and new city-wide partnerships, we will be spending the next year expanding our work at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple site to other Jewish communities in Los Angeles. WBT is engaged! Speaking of WBT . . . our cohort of 11 households is making things happen. Seven already have welcomed children into their homes from foster care, while the other two are not far behind as they move toward getting approved to be LA County foster families. Great work, community!

. . . and on a more personal note:

Our LA cohort had a blast helping Gerry celebrate son Astor's first birthday—a delightful day!

Cohort members Marcus and Clare finalized the adoption of their daughter, Melly. They’ve been family since they met, but now they’re official!

We cried along with our own Willie Garson when his son Nathen, who was adopted at age 7 from foster care, graduated from high school. Nathen celebrated his dad's love and unwavering support in a poem he wrote, The Next Wave, which he recited at the graduation ceremony.

Swaying back and forth, a thousand feet deep

Dark, cold, alone, and small

Constantly worrying in restless sleep

Getting dragged around like a rag doll

The light above me has yet to get brighter

Then something clasps my hand and carries me

And for once I grab back, even tighter

He'll guide me out of the scary sea

We brave the tough currents together

His grip easing, softening, over the years

Pulling me through the roughest weather

Through happiness, worries, concerns, and tears

A hand picks us up close to the shore and throws us

Midair we start to slip apart and I realize it's time

Time to say, "see you later", no need to fuss

It's okay to let me go, it's not a crime

You've taught me everything you've ever known

Now it's time for me to make a life of my own

All of us here at Second Nurture wish you the best of luck in college, Nathen! We know that as in everything you do, you’ll tackle your new adventure with a lot of heart.

Hello, Columbus . . .

We are planning a mentor and mentee orientation and training at our Harmony Park site, and have been awed and gratified by the participation of almost 100 Harmony Project choir members. Second Nurture Executive Director Susan Silverman's work with our phenomenal partners at Mentor Central Ohio on the development of a well-structured program will bring solidly supported direct mentorships to our Columbus foster children. Fundraising has already begun to enable the hiring of a half-time staffer who will oversee the project.

In Other Developments . . . we're creating Jewish resources for foster care and adoption . . .

Thanks to a generous grant from the adoption and fostering non-profit powerhouse, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, we're building a program that will promote foster care and adoption as a Jewish value by integrating concepts of foster care and adoption into Jewish communities. We want Jewish families to see in fostering and adoption those values that, while clearly not exclusively Jewish, really strengthen and deepen those values that celebrate Jewishness and make us our very best.

To do this, we're partnering with synagogues that are ready to both start this essential discussion, and to pilot the resources we need to open Jewish eyes and hearts. Chicago-based Rabbi Toby Manewith is working with Susan to create materials that will highlight the essential importance of this perspective, materials that will be available to all. You can see the resources for Purim, Passover, Shavuot and the High Holidays. High Holiday resources will be available in the next two weeks. A High Holiday sermon, using last year’s Second Nurture resources, inspired a Boston couple to adopt! Their newly-home three-year-old daughter loves her new synagogue!

This is a very exciting time for all of us! A huge thanks to everyone who shared their time, wisdom, resources, and love to make our vision real. There are so many more good things to come!

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