How a Collaborative Community Acts

Our Federation has been extremely focused on addressing the impact of the pandemic on community members and our Jewish institutions since early March of this year. We immediately stepped into high gear to create a pool of dollars to allocate to urgent and serious communal needs with an initial focus on those that Abraham Maslow in his book Hierarchy of Needs would place at the foundation – food and shelter. We pushed out hundreds of thousands of dollars that we pulled together by redirecting previously allocated dollars that would no longer be used (for example, we canceled the Israel Independence Day Celebration so those dollars became available), by approaching a handful of some of our most loyal and significant donors for supplemental support and by loosening restrictions on previously made allocations to provide our agencies with the flexibility they needed to react. Dollars given to every Rabbi’s discretionary fund, significant support of Hebrew Free Loan and Jewish Assistance Fund, funding to support the work of the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, counseling services by JFCS and computers for our day schools all made an incredible impact. Our most recent grant was just released this week to all our local congregations to help offset costs related to High Holiday services (for things such as technology or tents). We recognized the additional expenses borne by our congregations and wanted to help.

We have continued securing dollars in full collaboration and partnership with our eight beneficiary agencies and to date have secured nearly $7 million in new commitments. We thank the Jewish Healthcare Foundation for their exceptional gift of $2.5 million directed to the pressing financial needs of the JCC that launched our unified communal effort. You can read a bit more about all our efforts in the Jewish Chronicle.

This is how a well-organized, collaborative community behaves and acts!

Deep thanks go to our beneficiary agencies and their dedicated staff not only for the work they do every day to support our Jewish community members but also for their partnership with the Federation and with each other that allows us to be the kind of community we aspire to be.

So, what can you do? Give as generously to the Jewish Federation’s 2021 Community Campaign. This campaign provides the backbone of unrestricted dollars that our agencies rely on to “keep their lights on”. We must ensure a successful result to 2021 so we can increase our allocations in this challenging year. It is this Community Campaign that provides the foundation to our Jewish community security program I wrote about last week and so much more.

If you are unable to help at this time and need support, our community is here for you. Just go to jewishpgh.org/emergency-resources and we can help. If you know of someone else in need of assistance, please direct them to this page, as well. The dollars we raise are here for a purpose – to help.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a happy, safe Thanksgiving. Go Steelers! Wear your mask!

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