I have the title of President/CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. I want to admit something. I don’t know everything happening in our community where Federation has a hand in it. This week, I “got schooled” about some of our communal impact.
Tuesday night, the Federation distributed checks to college students to assist in funding their education as part of the Central Scholarship and Referral Service, administered brilliantly by Jewish Family and Children’s service. I have known for years the fact that our Central Scholarship program is the largest of any Jewish community on our continent. What I learned is that over 275 individuals will benefit from it this year. That is an impressive number.
Wednesday, a group of us met with the professional and volunteer leadership from our three Jewish Day Schools. These schools have worked so collaboratively over the years that other communities are jealous. I learned something I hadn’t known. In order to enroll as a student at any of our Day Schools, a child must be up to date with all inoculations. Someone made the point that while in some places students can acquire a religious exclusion from inoculations, our religious institutions are demanding them.
Thursday I met with a few staff at the JCC about our PJ Library program. PJ Library provides Jewish books to children ages 8 and younger on a monthly basis. In addition to the books, the JCC is conducting programming for the parents and children. A new initiative that started this past year called the “Jewish Federation PJ Library Ambassadors” places an individual in our suburban and urban Jewish communities (Fox Chapel, South Hills, North Hill and the East End) to conduct programming for PJ families. We have seen a 31 % increase in the number of subscriptions to PJ Library and have nearly quadrupled the number of families engaged in the programming just this year.
I’m sending this email before I learn some new things Friday afternoon. I am taking a donor to visit the Jewish Association on Aging, the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry/JFCS and the JCC. I can’t wait to once again be amazed at all we make possible.
P.S. I will not be writing next week.