Over the last week, I have heard stories leaving me with a real sense of gratification and satisfaction regarding our Federation focus this past year in sustaining Jewish community and Jewish life.
Rabbi Amy Bardack, Director of Jewish Education and Engagement, shared a story at our weekly staff meeting about a family who, for this academic year, chose Community Day School. They looked at the fact that CDS was conducting in-person classes and saw in writing the strategy the school put in place to operate during the pandemic. This interfaith family made the choice to move their child to CDS based on these factors. Fast forward – that family has fallen in love with the school and next year their twins will also begin their CDS journey. National studies clearly point to the fact that a day school education has the greatest impact on building Jewish identity. We know that our Federation’s COVID relief efforts in providing CDS (and other agencies) with PPE and providing funding for additional staffing, technology, and other critical infrastructure enhancements, the school was able to adapt appropriately.
A second story is from another of our Jewish Day Schools, Hillel Academy. Hillel Academy sent an email to their families and the first sentence was,
“We are very excited to announce that with the help of a Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Covid relief grant, we have hired a full-time school nurse.”
Our funding allowed Yeshiva Schools to do the same. In a time of COVID, having a school nurse in place is a must to continue to operate.
My final story was just published in this week’s Jewish Chronicle regarding the latest distributions of $500,000 by our COVID Relief Committee. One of the grants is for more than $190,000 and is directed to Emma Kaufmann Camp (EKC). With this grant, the Federation will pay for ALL COVID testing this summer at camp so that these costs are not passed along to families already stretched financially to pay their tuition. It is just one more way our Federation keeps our community institutions humming.
Those are just three stories of dozens that could be shared. The import of having a strong Federation has become so crystal clear during this pandemic. To quote the tagline of the Jewish Federation in Cleveland, our Federation is “Here For Good!”
P.S. Next week is Federation’s Israel Week with programs planned for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. See more information about these specific programs in the links below. I hope to see you there, online!