By Eileen Freed
What are the key issues facing the Jewish community today? Ensuring the next generation is connected to our heritage; Anti-Semitism; maintaining a connection to Israel and the rest of the Jewish world; security; ensuring long-term financial sustainability for our communal infrastructure; fostering unity in a time of division; and taking care of people, families and communities in need are just a few that come to mind.
With rare exception, it is difficult for individual donors to have a significant impact in addressing the big issues of the day. The Jewish Federation’s Annual Community Campaign allows our community, in concert with an entire global system, to have an impact that goes far beyond any one individual or organization.
Locally, the Annual Community Campaign raises significant funds which allow our partner organizations to focus on their missions of engagement, education and caring. The campaign also supports programs and communal partnerships that strengthen our community, such as professional development for our Jewish educators, and scholarships for Jewish summer camp and Israel experiences. The Community Engagement Fund, established last year, provides for programs such as Community Shabbat (this year on May 8, 2020), which bring us together for a common purpose.
The power of the collective extends beyond Washtenaw County. Our national organization, Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA), provides access to services, opportunities and initiatives we would be unable to access on our own. These include outstanding leadership development opportunities like National Young Leadership Cabinet, support from the Israel Action Network in combatting municipal and academic anti-Israel activities, and the recent growth of the security consulting and training infrastructure offered by the Secure Communities Network.
Many people are not aware that JFNA has an office in Washington, DC and advocates on behalf of the collective system of Jewish communities on a range of domestic issues from disability rights to increased funding for non-profit security grants. Our own Jewish Family Services has recently received a grant from JFNA’s Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care. These awards come from federal and philanthropic sources to which our community would not have access on its own. The success of this advocacy is only possible because JFNA is able to speak on behalf of our collective communities.
On the international front, we are a part of a global system that wraps the world, caring for Jews wherever they are and fostering vibrant Jewish life in communities that, until a few decades ago, did not have a Jewish future. We have an impact through JFNA and traditional partners, such as the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and ORT, and newer collaborations with Birthright, Hillel International and Moishe House. By participating with 46 other Federations on the Israel Religious Expression Platform, we are able to provide meaningful support for organizations working for religious pluralism and equality in Israel – an impact we would not be able to achieve on our own. A JFNA team in Israel coordinates these and other efforts on our behalf, overseeing the transfer of $56 million of designated grants to hundreds of non-profits and keeping watch on areas around the world that may need assistance from world Jewry.
When you participate in the Annual Community Campaign, you make all of this happen. Together, as a community, we take care of our local needs and we take care of Jews around the world, wherever they are. The values we share as a community can be reflected by how we come together as a collective to address the great issues confronting our community.
For more information about how you can be a partner in addressing the needs and aspirations of the Jewish community, please visit www.jewishannarbor.org or contact Chief Development Officer, Sharyn Gallatin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 734-773-3533.