Today is February 23, 2018 -
“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
You, the Jewish community, told Federation what you expected from us. We’ve been delivering.
You asked us to change our allocations process and be transparent about it. Done.
You asked us to enhance our outreach and programming for seniors. Done.
You asked us to take the lead on getting people to Israel, especially teenagers, and to bring Israel to Northeastern New York. Done.
You asked us to be more inclusive towards those with learning needs. Underway.
You asked us to be a resource for engagement, leadership training, and recruitment for our area synagogues and agencies. Done.
You asked us to be a good friend to our faith partners–to sit together during good times and stand together during difficult times. Done.
You asked for our help with endowment planning. Done.
You asked for more PJ Library programming. Done.
You asked us to do all of these things while maintaining our commitment to Jews in need in Israel and around the world, and while eliminating our aggressive fund-raising tactics–this is an ongoing work-in-progress. I thank you for your patience.
So, now I need your help. These programs are not free, and the Jews of the world do need our help.
We brought Ethiopian Jewry to Israel, marking the first time in the world’s history that blacks were brought from Africa to a new home without making them slaves. But now we have the obligation of educating them to ensure that they don’t become second-class citizens in their new home.
We still have elderly Jews in Eastern Europe who rely on us for food.
We have Jews in Western Europe who rely on us for security during this time of renewed anti-Semitism.
We have Jews in Israel who lost everything to savage fires and Jews in Louisiana who lost everything to flooding.
Some of you have chosen not to give to Federation this year. I have heard things like, “I don’t like Netanyahu.” “I don’t like the settlements.” “I don’t like your choice of speakers.” “I don’t like how I was solicited.” With all due respect, you are not punishing your solicitor or Israel’s prime minister, both of whom will enjoy Shabbat dinner tonight whether you give or not. You are punishing the 90-year-old woman in Ukraine who might not have food tonight.
If you haven’t already, please consider a meaningful gift during these last two weeks of the year. Answer the phone if your solicitor calls. Go to our website and “donate” now. Call me directly if you want to talk about it. You even still have a little time to ask your broker to send stock.
On behalf of the Jewish people, I thank you.