The third Eradicate Hate Global Summit attracted more than 1,000 people to Pittsburgh this week. Our Federation was publicly acknowledged for its role in supporting the summit. For the first two years of its existence, the Federation acted as its fiscal sponsor (handling all the payments, donations, contract signing and distributions). It was an enormous amount of work (and I am grateful to our staff for all they did); but we know that our efforts enabled the summit to grow, establish itself and to now have its own 501(c)3 status as an independent non-profit organization.
At a dinner on Tuesday night for summit speakers, we heard the Violins of Hope played beautifully by members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. These violins were played by Jews during the Holocaust. Two “forces of nature”, Sandy Rosen and Pat Siger have worked intensely to make this program a reality in Pittsburgh, and their work has resulted in quite an extensive list of programs that will literally “wow” you. Sandy Rosen likes to tell the story that she approached me with the idea of bringing this program to Pittsburgh and at the time, I thought it was a bit of a pipe dream because, as a colleague of mine likes to say, “Dreams and aspirations without financial resources are delusions.” But soon thereafter, our Federation became the recipient of a new endowment fund within our Jewish Community Foundation from Arthur J. (z”l) and Betty F. Diskin (z”l) dedicated to cultural arts. It enabled us to make a signature grant to support the Violins of Hope. I encourage you to check out the Violins of Hope website at violinsofhopepittsburgh.com and to avail yourself of this gift to our region. Like the Eradicate Hate Global Summit, Federation has served as the fiscal sponsor for this program.
One place you can experience the Violins of Hope is at our Community Campaign Launch on Thursday, October 12th when members of the PSO will play these precious instruments. We will also be presenting the PNC Community Builders Award to our community leaders, Nancy and Woody Ostrow. For more information and to register, visit jewishpgh.org/occasion/campaign-launch.
Over the next year, I’m going to try to share what I call the “quiet hand” of Federation. This is when Federation plays a significant role in things in our community that many of you would not realize, just like our role in the two examples above.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sukkot Sameach.