This may have been the most horrific year for both our Pittsburgh and our American Jewish community with the worst anti-Semitic incident in history taking place in our own backyard. We can never forget what took place and yet, we have not and will not let it paralyze us.
Our three Jewish day schools have either completed or are closing out another year of educating our children. Our JAA continues to provide high quality care to our seniors and even was able to merge Riverview Towers under its umbrella. Concurrently, the New Riverview began construction on the rehabilitation of both buildings with more than $16 million in tax credit financing guaranteed by our Federation. Jewish Residential Services opened their brand new building at the corner of Murray and Forward and operations have moved there. Hillel JUC had another incredible year of programming and one highlight is that more college young people participated in Birthright Israel and Onward Israel through them than in any previous year. The JCC that housed much of the work post October 27th for our community and for law enforcement kept their excellent preschool, fitness and camping programs right on track. Jewish Family and Community Services added additional staff to help with the increased counseling services after October 27th and kept doing all that they do, day in and day out.
Overseas, we continue to feed over 100,000 elderly Jews across the Former Soviet Union. We are assisting the 5,000 Jews of Venezuela caught in a terrible economic and political situation. MASA programs, long term programs in Israel for our young people, brought record numbers.
Right here in our Federation, while we have been deeply engaged with the aftermath and recovery since October 27th, our Campaign is on pace again, Educational Improvement Tax Credit dollars of over $5 million were collected and distributed to our three Jewish Day Schools and every Jewish preschool. Our planning work on cemeteries moves forward while our Community Relations Council work has only expanded because of new relationships we have developed as a result of the attack. And, the Federation moved its offices of 60 years with all the cleaning out, packing and logistics that it encompasses.
I know I’ve left many things off this list. The point is, this is an incredibly resilient community that is working on our healing while keeping up with our normal “stuff”. That normal “stuff” is made possible, in large part, by your support of our Community Campaign. Thank you!
Shabbat Shalom and happy Father’s Day to all the dads.