I have to mention four things that happened this week. I will be brief with all, but I think all deserve mention:
- Hurricane Harvey – The national Federation system opened a mailbox over the weekend to collect donations to help flood victims including those in the Jewish community. Our Federation, through emergency funds that we put aside every year and dollars collected, has already wired $25,000 to this effort. The national Federation system approved $500,000 in distributions already. If you want to participate, you can do so at our website at www.jfedpgh.org. No dollars are taken for overhead.
- Our Annual Meeting on Thursday night was a celebration of what our Federation has accomplished this past year. Deep gratitude goes to our volunteer leadership, especially our Board and Executive Committee, for leading us to another successful year.
- I attended the opening session of our Wechsler Young Leadership Institute on Tuesday night at the home of our newly minted Chair of the Board, Meryl Ainsman. This dynamic group of young adults has begun their yearlong journey of learning about the Federation, its Beneficiary and Overseas agencies and how the Federation works to build a thriving, vibrant and engaged Jewish community. I asked the group a series of questions: who is from Pittsburgh/not from Pittsburgh; who would consider themselves Orthodox, Reform, Conservative or Reconstructionist; who lives in the North Hills, South Hills or city; who went to Jewish Day School, religious school or had no formal Jewish education. Hands went up for each category. To me, that, IS Federation! It is the full diversity of our Jewish community coming together collectively to take care of our communal needs. I walked away from this evening so inspired and excited for our future.
- Birthright Israel announced this week that the 600,000th person has now participated in this groundbreaking experience. Our Federation is one of the proud funders of this life changing program.
And, to next week:
Join us on Wednesday at 7 pm a the JCC in Squirrel Hill to hear from the fantastic Avraham Infeld as he discusses “Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People”. He will be touching upon many issues and topics including those around the Western Wall and conversion in Israel.