Today is September 19, 2018 -

What we don’t do

Remember when Bibi spoke to our Congress?  It was the world’s hottest news story for weeks.  I fielded multiple daily phone calls for weeks leading up to the big event.

Caller – “I don’t want him coming.”  Rob – “I’m sorry that you feel this way.”

Caller – “I’m happy that he’s coming.”  Rob – “I’m happy that you’re happy.”

Caller – “I don’t want Tonko there.”  Rob – “Then you should call Tonko and tell him.”

Caller – “I want Tonko there.”  Rob – “Then you should call Tonko and tell him.”

Caller – “I don’t understand this.  What’s going on?”

Ah ha!  A role for Federation.

Rob – “Here’s what the right thinks.  Here’s what the left thinks.  Here is where you can get more information.”

This week’s big news is the Iran deal.

JStreet – “Please encourage your donors to…”  Rob – “I’m sorry; we don’t do that.”  If you want to know what JStreet thinks about an Iran deal, please see its website.

AIPAC — “Please encourage your donors to…”  Rob – “I’m sorry; we don’t do that.”  If you want to see its “5 Minimum Requirements for a Good Deal,” please go to its website.

For years, Federation has had the reputation of being exclusively a fundraising organization; I have gone to great lengths to educate people that we are not.  We visit our seniors in nursing homes.  We read with young children.  Partnering with PJ Library, we provide Jewish-content books every month to all of our Jewish children.  We fight anti-Semitism.  We support Jewish life in our community and on our campuses.  We educate.  We provide forums for open dialogue.  We provide life-saving aid to vulnerable Jews worldwide.  We rescue Jews from oppressive lands and help them to move to and settle in Israel to be part of the free and democratic society.  We build bomb shelters to protect Israeli citizens and resilience centers to heal the traumatized.  We encourage trips to Israel and relations with our partnership community.

We are not a political organization.  We do not control who marches in the NYC Israel parade.  We do not take up political positions.  We do not speak out against the positions of the democratically elected government of Israel.  We do not build settlements.

Like all of you, I have opinions on Iran, peace talks, gay marriage, the death penalty, abortion, who should address our congress, minimum wage, settlements, etc. etc. etc.  My opinions are not Federation’s, and Federation is not in the opinion business.  Federation’s business is “to build and maintain a strong and united Jewish community.”

I really wanted to tell you about JFK’s Terminal 4 this week.  It will wait until next week.  Enjoy the 4th.

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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