News

Break Your Fast and Bridge the Future

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 18, 2015

On Wednesday we fast for Yom Kippur.  On Thursday at our Annual Meeting, our Federation will celebrate accomplishments for the past year and look towards the challenges we hope to conquer in the coming year.  And the only comparison I’ll draw between the two is that, in a sense, Yom Kippur is the Annual meeting…

Thinking about the New Year, Remembering 9/11, on this Shabbat

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 11, 2015

9/11, Shabbat and Rosh Hashana are all smooshed together in my mind. I’m thinking about the New Year with new possibilities.  The apples and honey and my wife’s honey cake will all be devoured starting on Sunday night in the expectation of a sweet year.  But today, hours before the restfulness of Shabbat settles in,…

Looking at all sides of the Iran Deal

By Jeff Finkelstein | September 4, 2015

Iran.  The last month and a half has all been about how to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  Our Federation has taken a very deliberate approach to provide information representing all sides around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to the community.  We do so within the following context that was established…

Over $25 Million is quite a feat in a single year. But, those four young people are what we should be celebrating.

By Jeff Finkelstein | August 28, 2015

At our Foundation Annual Meeting this week, we announced the most successful year in our history, adding over $25 Million to our assets under management.  We distributed more than $13 Million back to the community from our Foundation.  By all accounts, this was a truly remarkable year of success. While the announcement of this record…

We Can Be Smarter!

By Jeff Finkelstein | August 21, 2015

I was so upset when walking to Jewish Heritage Night at PNC Park on Tuesday night to see the Jews for Jesus group on the Roberto Clemente Bridge (on what would have been Roberto Clemente’s 80th birthday).  I wasn’t that upset that they were there.  What makes America great is that they have the freedom…

The Far-Reaching Legacy of the Grinspoon Foundation

By Jeff Finkelstein | August 14, 2015

Brian Schreiber of our JCC and I were truly blessed to take part in a retreat sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation during the last week.  Approximately 40 professionals, mostly from Federations and a few JCC’s, all of whom lead organizations involved with PJ Library, participated.  The purpose was to brainstorm ways that each of…

Getting Schooled

By Jeff Finkelstein | July 31, 2015

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…

Our Work in Israel is Strong – See For Yourself in 2016!

By Jeff Finkelstein | July 10, 2015

I know I haven’t written in several weeks.  My lack of authoring this weekly piece is not a reflection on the quantity and quality of work being done by our Federation. During the last few weeks, I was in Israel as part of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Assembly and Board meeting.  The Jewish Agency…

Diversity, Inclusion, and Working Together as a Community

By Jeff Finkelstein | June 19, 2015

We focus so much of our work on the planning, fundraising and financial oversight role of the Federation.  In fact, at yesterday’s Board meeting, we approved over $9 Million in allocations from our Annual Campaign and Foundation.  That happened because of the planning, fundraising and financial oversight we do so well. Sometimes, we have to…

Is Being a Spy Smart Business?

By Jeff Finkelstein | June 12, 2015

What do you think about spying on others?  This week’s parshah contains the famous story of Moses sending the twelve spies into the land of Canaan.  Ten of them return to falsely describe how terrible the land is in order to scare the people from wanting to travel there.  Two, Caleb and Joshua, appropriately and…

The Ira and Nanette Gordon Award – The Jewish Community in Emily's Words

By Jeff Finkelstein | June 5, 2015

Yesterday, the Federation presented the Ira and Nanette Gordon Award to Emily Richman, the Federation’s Assistant Campaign Director.  The Gordon Award is presented to a professional from the Federation or one of our ten beneficiary agencies who is in the early years of his/her career.  Instead of writing to you this week, I want to…

A Snapshot on YOUR Federation

By Jeff Finkelstein | May 29, 2015

A snapshot on your Federation: The 2015 Annual Campaign now sits at $12.3 Million towards our $13.7 Million goal. We have secured $4.9 Million in EITC funds for our Jewish Day Schools and Jewish preschools, a $600,000 increase over last year. Our Foundation has added over $23.5 Million in new and additional funds, already exceeding our goal…

Coming Together for Tikkun Leil Shavuot

By Jeff Finkelstein | May 22, 2015

This week’s Parsah, Bamidbar, has a description of the twelve tribes and how their camps were structured. While each tribe had its own location where it’s members lived, they all shared in something important, being members of the Jewish people. Saturday night begins the holiday of Shavuot, one of the three pilgrimage holidays in the Jewish calendar.…

Do You Have to be a Millionaire to Set Up a Fund?

By Jeff Finkelstein | May 15, 2015

The Post Gazette printed an insert magazine on Thursday titled, “In the Lead”.  While nearly all of it is dedicated to the private and public businesses of our region, one page talked about nonprofits.  On that page, there is a list of “Top Foundations”.  This list is not ordered by asset size, but by the…

What Does It Mean To Be a Leader

By Jeff Finkelstein | May 8, 2015

Leadership is all about….leading. I’m really proud of a meeting that took place this week in our offices on McKee Place.  Many Federations across the country use the same database and website platform.  The product we are using is relatively new to all of us.  It has incredible capabilities.  Our marketing and Information Technology (IT)…

A Marathon Week of Activity at Federation

By Jeff Finkelstein | May 1, 2015

It’s been a marathon week of nonstop activity. At the beginning of it, over 30 Pittsburghers who graduated from the Wexner Heritage Program as well as recipients of the Wexner Fellowship descended on Columbus, OH to celebrate the Wexner Foundation’s 30th Anniversary.  This wasn’t just a party of 1,200 people from around North America and Israel, it…

Policy on Anti-Semitism in Europe

By Community Relations Council | April 27, 2015

The Jewish Delegate Assembly of Greater Pittsburgh is greatly concerned by the spate of anti-Semitic incidents, including terror attacks, riots, violent assaults and the desecration of synagogues and other holy sites that have occurred in in Europe in the last year. The CRC recognizes the EU and the State Department’s definition of Modern anti-Semitism.* The…

Policy on Genetic Testing and the Jewish Community

By Community Relations Council | April 27, 2015

Research shows that a quarter of the Jewish population carries at least one of the many preventable Ashkenazi Jewish genetic diseases (AJGD) – and the list is growing rapidly. The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) is the original funder and provider of community education about AJGD and supporter of appropriate pre-conception screening opportunities in Pittsburgh. The…

Yom Ha'atzmaut Continues in the South Hills This Weekend!

By Jeff Finkelstein | April 24, 2015

I remember in the late 1970’s, my parents saved up enough money to take their first trip to Israel.  When they returned, they gave me and my siblings gifts.  I remember I was given a t shirt that said “Israel Is Real”.  I know it sounds a little corny today, but it was a big…

Honoring Holocaust Victims, Fallen Soldiers, Israeli Independence, and So Much More

By Jeff Finkelstein | April 17, 2015

Passover ends and immediately the activity in the Jewish community starts to move at a frantic pace.  The number of events, programs and meetings is beyond belief and is a testament to the kind of engaged and interested community we have. I would only mention one such event from this past week, the Yom Hashoah…

We Do So Much, So Well

By Jeff Finkelstein | April 9, 2015

A quick story about something that happened to me this week… My daughter is participating in a teen trip to Israel this summer.  I called the office of the organization running the trip to let them know that our Federation subsidizes every teen going on a teen trip to Israel (when you have attended a…

Young Leadership and the Future of Community

By Jeff Finkelstein | March 20, 2015

Wednesday was a great day.  It started with a meeting and ended with an event. The morning meeting, a two hour gathering of a great group of committed lay leadership, engaged the group in serious discussion about our community and how to best address one of our communal priority areas in order to get the…

The Plight of Jews in Ukraine

By Jeff Finkelstein | March 13, 2015

I take much of the language in this week’s Shabbat message from a correspondence I received from our national system, the Jewish Federations of North America.  I know that for many of us our “Jewish attention” has been focused on our local Jewish community, on the Israeli elections and on growing anti-Semitism across Europe.  I…

Esther Did Not Sit Idly By

By Jeff Finkelstein | March 6, 2015

The buzz this past week has been about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech in Congress.  Admittedly, there is a divide both within and from outside the Jewish community as to whether the Prime Minister should have given the speech at all.  There is debate about the right way to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat.  One thing…

Donating for All the Right Reasons

By Jeff Finkelstein | February 13, 2015

In last week’s New York Times Magazine, “The Ethicist” had a question posed to him.  The question raised was, “During a pledge drive for a public-radio station, an on-air personality made an accusation I’d never heard:  that regular listeners who never contributed were behaving unethically.”  Is it unethical? The Ethicist responded that it was not…

Building Relationships, and Being a Mensch in Hollywood

By Jeff Finkelstein | February 6, 2015

Debbie Winn Horvitz, the CEO of the Jewish Association on Aging, spoke at a meeting of the Federation Beneficiary Agency Executives.  Debbie mentioned that at a recent session of the Wechsler Leadership Development Institute (Federation’s Young Adult leadership development program), one of the attendees was very taken by an aspect of the work of the…

The Foundation of our Foundation

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 30, 2015

A tremendous Fundfest took place this past week. Despite some tough weather, hundreds came to the Federation offices to get on the phones to reach out and connect with other fellow community members to ask for their support of our 2015 Campaign.  Fundfest has propelled our campaign to $6 Million and added many new donors to our…

Funding Great Things

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 23, 2015

The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, our Federation’s initiative to secure permanent endowment dollars to fund Jewish identity building programming, has had exceptional progress since its inception just five years ago.  To date, approximately $24 Million in commitments have been secured and with much of those commitments already being paid by generous donors, we…

Je Suis Juif

By Jeff Finkelstein | January 16, 2015

I had intended to write today about a visit during my family’s December vacation in Atlanta at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.  I wanted to tie that into this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend when we recall King’s struggle for civil rights in this country.  However, recent events have unfortunately redirected my message. Nearly three years…

A Powerful Collective

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 19, 2014

Over the past few years, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has sent several missions to Cuba.  We witnessed a small yet vibrant Jewish community and saw the work our dollars make possible with our own eyes.  As part of those missions, we visited the American Intersection.  As you know, the United States has not…

What a Week!

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 12, 2014

Sunday night was the graduation of this year’s cohort of Diller Teen Fellows.  This group of 20, who have been together with a group of teens from our Partnership2Gether Region of Karmiel and Misgav as part of a leadership development program, will travel to Israel in a few weeks.  Their originally scheduled trip this summer had…

Our Jewish Future is Inevitable – Make it Bright!

By Jeff Finkelstein | December 5, 2014

I write today about our Jewish future and about two ways our Federation is looking and preparing for that destination. Monday was the first Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard Roundtable.  Approximately 65 volunteer and professional leaders in our community came together to review some of the findings in our first round of collecting data as part…

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