Hanukkah. Candles aglow: A Message From The President & CEO.

Shalom Chaverim,

Hanukkah. Candles aglow. The smell of latkes frying. Bubbe.

Every Hanukkah, I would take a Greyhound bus to Atlantic City to light the candles with my Bubbe and Pop. The ride was about 2 hours long, followed by a jitney to their tiny apartment.

All those years ago, I saw the trip as an adventure for myself. However, my 90-year old mother recently pointed out that it was a mitzvah for me to travel each year to light candles with my grandparents. An interesting perspective, one I did not think about before.

As I view that experience through this new lens, I see our work at Jewish Federation as an opportunity to do mitzvot for those who cannot provide for themselves. How do we accomplish this? Through collective giving.

Collective giving allows Jewish Federation to support myriad programs, such as
- Jewish camp and Israel program scholarships for local children and teens,
- trauma-informed care for Holocaust survivors, and
- emergency assistance funds for local families in need through our Chesed and Gesher XL funds.

To have the opportunity to help build and sustain Jewish community, provide lifesaving needs for our community’s most vulnerable, and enable Jewish educational integration services for special-needs children are all mitzvot – made possible by each of our gifts to Jewish Federation. It is you who make a difference; your generosity makes all of these services available.

We are also enriching and sustaining Jewish lives in communities across the globe. To update you on my last blog: Denisa, the 15-year-old in Romania, received her new wheelchair that properly fits her maturing body. And Valo in Bulgaria is in the process of receiving a properly fitting prosthesis for his amputated leg. These are examples of the mitzvot that Jewish Federation – and the power of the collective – make happen.

Hanukkah is a time of miracles. As I reflect on all we have accomplished this year, I thank those of you who so generously give of your resources and time to help make life better for others. The work we do is truly miraculous.

If you haven’t yet given in 2017, it’s not too late. Our 2017 Community Campaign ends December 31, and we still have the challenge grant to double new and increased gifts.* In addition to receiving tax benefits, your gift makes a double impact. We are so close to reaching our 2017 goal, and your gift can make a real difference. Please help us reach our goal of $5.2 million...our highest campaign goal in our 84-year history.

Once again, thank you for your continued support, and I wish all of you a very Happy Hanukkah. I hope this season brings a glow to your heart and home. As you’re eating your latkes and I’m thinking about my Bubbe, remember the mitzvot - the miracles - that you create everywhere, everyday.


*A special thanks to Challenge Grant funders: Stanley J. Bushman, Robert Cutler, the Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, The Helzberg Challenge Fund, John & Jenny Isenberg, Trudy & John Jacobson, the Lowenstein Family Supporting Foundation, the Norman & Elaine Polsky Family Charitable Foundation and David & Ellice Vittor. All matching funds will go toward Jewish Federation’s 2017 Annual Campaign.