By Judy Alperin
CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven
One of the perks of my job is coming into a building teeming with activity and happy smiling faces from adorable infants through determined Silver Sneakers seniors. I know that we live in a very special community. But during this time of year when the Jewish Federation’s Planning & Allocations committee has the honor of meeting with and learning from agencies and organizations charged with caring for, educating, and enhancing lives in the Greater New Haven area, I am reminded how blessed we are by so many wonderful volunteers and professionals working hard every day.
This year, the Federation received applications for funding from 19 organizations! Many of these programs and agencies are the unsung heroes of our community and we took great inspiration hearing story after story of how funding from your support of the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign makes a significant impact. We cannot forget that in addition to those organizations, there are many more who are supported through partnerships with the Jewish Federation and JCC, grants and distributions from the Jewish Foundation and our overseas allocation which funds the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Joint Distribution Committee, World Ort and Partnership2Gether sister community Afula/Gilboa in Israel as well as our wonderful young Israeli emissary program.
A main theme that echoed through each conversation was collaboration. How could the organization work in tandem with others to better deliver service, streamline efforts and reduce costs?
As the committee moves forward under the visionary leadership of Dr. David Hass, the Planning & Allocations committee hopes to evolve its process by creating a supplemental grant pool. This will foster collaboration and create pathways to strengthen the bonds of community and perhaps extend the reach of impact. Of course, all of this will only be possible with growth in the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign. I encourage each of us to give generously. As our theme states, “everyone counts,” and each donor who steps up to say hineni - I am here, and joins with others to leverage their support, is a hero.
We learned many powerful lessons as we experienced the fire and its aftermath. We learned that we are resilient, that we come together in times of crisis, that we deeply care for one another, that we cherish what has come before and will honor that by investing in our future, and that there is more that unites us than divides us.
Perhaps it is that last lesson that rings loudest today as we experience unprecedented acts of hatred and anti-Semitism globally and right here in Connecticut. Let these challenging times serve as a reminder that hatred and bigotry must be called out in all their most noxious and stealthy forms. The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation is our representative and our voice. It is working in close collaboration with partners at the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT) and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) to educate, respond and speak truth to power. But we need your help. If you see something, say something.
Thank you for being counted and for counting on us.