Federation’s Work in Government Relations Benefits Jewish Communities

A core component of Federation’s work is in the area of government relations and working towards actions at the local, state and federal level that can positively impact our Jewish community. On the federal level, we typically work through our national system, the Jewish Federations of North America. Recent examples of their accomplishments include securing funding to help care for Holocaust survivors and a program through the Department of Homeland Security to provide security dollars to higher risk nonprofit organizations. By the 144 Jewish Federations working together with a unified voice on behalf of American Jewry we are able to get results. 

At the state level, we work closely with the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, an entity in Harrisburg funded by Federations throughout the state. Since October 27, 2018, we have been encouraging the state to establish a fund, similar to what exists in other states, for security for nonprofits. That legislation, providing $5 Million in funding, made it through both the state Senate and House and is now headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature. We anticipate a signing soon. 

Yes, the Federation provides direct funding to so many of our local Jewish institutions. We also are able to use our collective voice to achieve impact. 

I did not want to write in detail about the activities of this past weekend commemorating the victims of last year’s brutal attack. I think it is important that we refocus our attention towards our bright Jewish future, while never forgetting what happened. However, I cannot help myself and must thank our incredible Federation staff team for their herculean efforts that made Sunday’s activities as close to perfect as possible. While a broad based group of community stakeholders determined the framework for the day (volunteering, Torah study and a communal gathering), it was the Federation staff that did the “heavy lifting” not only in developing and implementing the activities, but also in being out and about throughout the community to ensure everything ran smoothly. Unlike the thousands of people who participated, our staff did not have the opportunity to be passive participants with the ability to mourn and remember. This is the finest Federation staff in North America and I am lucky to work with each and every member of our team. When you see them, please thank them. 

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom. Go Steelers and remember to change your clocks and vote.

Jeff Finkelstein

President & CEO

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