More Than Ninety Thousand Votes for UJC Hero

We did it.

Thanks to your efforts we came in first place in the voting for the UJC Jewish Heroes Contest.

With 91,450 votes – nearly 20% of every vote cast — we demonstrated the strength of our cause.

As I mentioned, winning the Jewish Hero Contest is a way that I can raise funds for Jewlicious Festivals.

But it is was also a way for you to show that the Jewish street is excited about what we are doing.

The next stage of the contest is called the Semi-Finals. They asked each of the top 20 vote getters to submit a short video and a statement.

We will know shortly the outcome – and we hope for the best.

If you want to be one of the first to know the results I invite you to follow us on Twitter.

Shabbat Shalom and thanks!

Rabbi Yonah

Twitter: @rabbiyonah @JconnectLA @JewliciousFest

Cast your vote for Jewish Unity

We are in the final hours of a contest that I never thought I would be in—let alone be leading. However, thanks to amazing support from around the world, we are a couple thousand votes shy of our goal.

The winner of the UJC Heroes Contest receives $25,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. I have pledged to expand Jewlicious Festival if we win, doing more than ever before.

Can you spare a few seconds to vote? To post a link on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace?

Jewlicious Festival is a place in time for young Jews to gather, to explore, to celebrate being Jewish. It’s an event unlike any other in Jewish history, uniting people from across ethnic, social, religious and political lines.

Jewlicious is Woodstock, Jewish Summer Camp, Mt. Sinai and Burning Man rolled into three non-stop days. We had 1,000 participants last year in just one location – we hope to bring the experience to 10,000 more.

Please – take a second to vote, and spread the good news – Jewlicious Festival, a place of unity that we so badly need in the Jewish world today, is leading the UJC Hero Contest and only a few votes from our goal of 100,000.

Please – pass the word. Don’t delay – we have only until tonight, 9pm PST.

Vote now!

May all your dreams and prayers this year be realized.


Thanks to everyone for the amazing photos, to Kosha for this song, and to Gfish for the Video!

Rabbi Yonah is our Hero


Guest post by CK from

Hi. I don’t want to be a nudnik. We’ve already written a number of posts about the UJC’s Jewish Community Heroes project. Thanks to your support, our initial nominee, Rabbi Yonah, has been in the top 10 pretty much since he was nominated. Rabbi Yonah as you all know, writes for Jewlicious, is the Director of the Jewlicious Festivals and is probably one of the main reasons many of you are even reading this right now. Rabbi Yonah and his wife Rachel have spent years working on behalf of the Jewish community in Poland and from their perch as Hillel Chaplain and Director in Long Beach have helped energize both the local community and untold thousands of Jews around the world – going above and beyond their job descriptions and giving freely of themselves in doing so. A vote for Rabbi Yonah is a vote for Rachel, a vote for their children and a vote for all that is Jewlicious. (You can see Rabbi Yo’s profile here or vote for him immediately by clicking here)

So obviously, many of us have been keenly following the voting, and by extension, the other nominees. Props go out to the fine folks of Chabad who have managed to vote in no less than 3 nominees into the top 10. These guys clearly get social networking! Props also go out to ROI who have a number of their alums represented including the #1 dude Ari Teman. But what’s really cool about this project are all the other nominated heroes, regardless of how many votes they do or do not have. These are earnest and ordinary folks from all across the US and Canada whose selflessness and civic mindedness have inspired others to nominate them. These individuals demonstrate that despite all the fears expressed by study after study and headline after headline, the Jews of North America have still managed to maintain a vibrant and giving community, in part on the strength of these heroes.

Look, I’m going to keep pushing Rabbi Yonah. He’s a great guy. I’ve seen him sweep garbage, I’ve seen him delirious from lack of sleep, I’ve seen him overcome obstacle after obstacle. I’ve seen Rachel sleeping under a desk, seen her open her house to over and over again to SoCal Jews. All this while never losing sight of their goals, never losing the smiles on their faces. Awesome. I want others to know about them. I want them to get at least some modicum of recognition. Rabbi Yonah will end this contest in the top 10 or else you can assume I know nothing about social media and community building. It’s not likely however that he’ll be a finalist, let alone the jury selected winner of $25k to be used for his work. We’re just not that kind of organization – you know we cuss, we’re critical and combative. We don’t make for very good poster kids… but by the time this is all over, we’ll help spread the word not just about Rabbi Yonah, but also about Eli Winkelman who inspired this project, Josh Kaplan, the coolest Federation dude ever over in Long Beach, Howie Silbiger over in Montreal, Cool Jew Lisa Alcalay Klug in San Francisco, Jewish Robot William Levin in Brooklyn, 17 year old DJ and Philanthropist Brian Brooksand on and on.

So yeah. Vote. Click on your fave heroes every day. On the right hand side of most pages there’s a graphic that says “get and share” – if you have a gmail account, use the email link and urge all your contacts to check out the site and vote! That’s it, I for one am done.