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By Jeff Finkelstein |
Wednesday night, our Young Adult Division’s Ben Gurion Society held a program at the home of Cindy and David Shapira. A crowd beyond our expectations came to eat dinner and hear from our hosts along with Rabbi Alex Greenbaum and me about Jewish life and leadership. The final question posed to David and Cindy was as direct as possible: Why should we, these young adults, contribute to Federation?
David Shapira asked to be the one to answer the question. I wish I had him taped because I cannot write what he said verbatim and it was profound, eloquent and “right on”. I will not do it justice here. He explained that he has always contributed because the Federation supports so much in our community. The past year has shown him, especially because of his leadership role with the Federation’s Independent Committee to distribute the Victims of Terror Funds, a new perspective about how critical it is to have a convener of community to respond during difficult times or even tragedy. These young adults were nodding their heads in agreement. Equally as inspiring to me was hearing from a few of these young adults about their motivations for involvement. There is no doubt, our community’s future is extremely bright.
I mentioned in my message last week that Governor Wolf would be signing a law providing $5 Million in security funding to nonprofits. That took place yesterday and Josh Sayles, our Community Relations Director, and I along with leadership from other Pennsylvania Jewish Federations and the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition were all on hand to thank our legislators and the Governor. Once the regulations are written on the application process, our Federation will once again serve as a convener of our local Jewish organizations and synagogues to brief them and advise them on next steps.
Finally, I look forward to seeing so many of you on Wednesday night at the Federation’s This is Us program featuring Chefs Michael Solomonov and Kevin Sousa. We already have a record turnout expected (over 400). If you haven’t signed up yet, do it before the event registration closes on November 12th at jewishpgh.org/this-is-us.
Shabbat Shalom and Go Steelers!
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Campaign supports young families by supporting programs at the Jewish Community Center (JCC), the Jewish day schools and the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC).
This support especially helps families who are new to Pittsburgh, like Jordan Fischbach and Yael Silk. Jordan and Yael moved here from Los Angeles in part to be closer to family and in part because of the strong Jewish community—made stronger by the Community Campaign.
The Jewish Federation’s support in the community has enhanced Jordan’s and Yael’s experience in Pittsburgh immensely. They exercise at the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh (JCC). Their kids attended synagogue early childhood programs and go to the JCC’s James and Rachel Levinson Day Camp.
The Community Campaign supports young families in so many ways. For example:
- The Pittsburgh Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI) is an innovative and multi-faceted approach to preschool education that promotes Jewish identity through the involvement of parents in their children’s learning. The program has already made a significant impact on Jewish engagement of young parents and reached over 500 children.
- The JCC not only supports the education and well-being of young children, but also supports the needs of teens. JTeenPGH, as the JCC calls its collection of teen programs, consists of JLine, the Diller Teen Fellows, Hazamir Choir, and JServe. These programs provide Jewish learning, identity-building, and a love for Israel.
- Thanks to the EITC program, over 7,000 scholarships for Jewish day school have been awarded since the program began in 2001. It has supported countless low-income families and increased participation in Jewish life for both kids and their parents.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Community Campaign changes lives everyday starting with our community’s children. Help support our young families and the programs that shape their lives by supporting the Community Campaign.