Creating opportunities for meaningful, purposeful and relevant Jewish exploration.

Mission Statement


LiNK Jewish Buffalo’s Belonging vision is for all Jews, their friends and life partners, and people exploring Judaism to feel welcome to participate in Jewish living and learning experiences regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ability.

Do you need help finding where you belong in Jewish Buffalo?  We would love to get to know you.  Please reach out to us to meet over Zoom, for coffee, lunch or a drink – we will come to you!  Contact Mike Steklof at mike@buffalojewishfederation.org

Volunteer Leadership:
Robin Raphael, Chair
Kirstie Henry, Vice-Chair

Professional Leadership:
Mike Steklof, LiNK Jewish Buffalo

Belonging - LiNK Logo RGB
Belonging - Belonging Circle

Values that guide our work


Belonging - humility

ענוה - ANAVAH // HUMILITY

We focus on building relationships and creating shared experiences that build and deepen connections with everyone throughout Jewish Buffalo.

Belonging - curiosity

סקרנות – SAKRANUT //CURIOSITY

We encourage everyone to ask questions and explore their personal identity. We challenge assumptions and always ask how we can be more welcoming to all.

Belonging - vision

חזון - HAZON // VISION & INNOVATION

We are forward thinking and believe that Jewish Buffalo should be audaciously welcoming. We facilitate new kinds of experiences where all feel welcome; our work is ongoing and continually improving.

Belonging - language icon

שמיראת הלשון - SH’MIRAT HALASHON // GUARDING ONE’S USE OF LANGUAGE

We will choose language that welcomes all interested in seeking depth and meaning in their Jewishness.

Belonging - inclusion

בצלם אלקים B’TZELEM ELOKIM // CREATED WITH THE SPARK OF THE DIVINE

We believe that everyone has something of value to contribute and everyone has a right to belong. We are inclusive of those raised inside Jewish community, those raised completely without Jewish community, individuals who are Jew-adjacent, and inclusive of all abilities, gender identities and sexual orientations.

Belonging - respect icon

כבוד KAVOD // RESPECT

 We value the lived experience of everyone we encounter. We work to ensure that they feel that they are important and valued.

Belonging - responsible for each other

כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה - KOL YISRAEL AREVIM ZEH BAZEH // WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR EACH OTHER

We believe that each person is responsible for all of humanity. It is our obligation to ensure that each person has all of their basic needs met.

 
Belonging - do not separate yourself

אל תפרוש מן הציבור - AL TIFROSH MIN HATSIBUR // DO NOT SEPARATE YOURSELF

We are all in this together and work to ensure no one feels the need to remove themselves from Jewish Buffalo.

Belonging - Inclusion Planning Team scaled
Belonging - Pride Meet Up 1 scaled
Belonging - Womens Group Home scaled

Inclusion to Belonging


Since the 1980’s, Jewish Buffalo has benefited from the tremendous effort of organizations, people, and philanthropists who work hard to ensure that people with cognitive and physical disabilities are able to participate in Jewish life. Although much progress has been made, the LiNK Inclusion Planning Team has expanded this effort, in alignment with the Buffalo Jewish Federation’s mission of creating a “welcoming and thriving network of communities” so that all feel welcome in Jewish Buffalo. Changing the name of our work from “Inclusion” to “Belonging,” represents this expansion by honoring decades of progress while acknowledging additional underserved groups with whom we seek to engage.

Belonging - Pride Meet Up 2

Inclusion

  • Seeks and values engaging with people that are different from themselves
  • Takes concrete steps to ensure programming, policy, and culture includes and affirms all people
  • People are only asked for input and leadership on issues that pertain to them
  • All people feel included and affirmed

Belonging

  • Everyone understands that learning and change must be ongoing
  • “Nothing about us without us”
  • Advocate for all people to belong in all parts of society
  • All people are integral and fully seen

Upcoming Events


Mike Steklof

Mike Steklof

Director of Jewish Experience

(he/him)

Mike experienced the best of Rochester, Albany, Louisville, and Cleveland before choosing Buffalo as his home. Mike loves Buffalo for its warmth, weather, and charm. He is energized by connecting those who share similar passions, creating meaningful experiences  and ensuring there is space for all to belong in Jewish Buffalo. Outside of the office, Mike can be found cooking savory vegetarian dishes, training for his next half marathon or walking the Ellicott Creek bike path.

mike@buffalojewishfederation.org