The Jewish Federation’s strategic planning process kicked off in the spring of 2020. The process did not end with the report of recommendations. It is a continuing effort of focus leading to action and implementation. Periodically, results will be shared in the pages of Shalom New Haven.
By addressing key priority areas like security, community collaboration, Jewish education, and advocacy, the Federation seeks to unite the community and inspire each person to act to strengthen Jewish life in Greater New Haven and around the world.
Jewish communal security is in the headlines every day. As anti-Semitism continues to increase, the need to secure and protect Jewish communal institutions and individuals has never been greater. The Jewish Federation serves as a hub of information, training, workshops and funding support. In the community survey conducted as part of the strategic planning process, security ranked as a high priority.
As a result, the Federation will implement a Regional Security Advisor program in partnership with Secure Community Network and in collaboration with the Jewish communities of Greenwich, Stamford and Western CT. The program will touch every aspect of the Jewish community—agencies, schools, synagogues, Hillels, kosher establishments and cemeteries, providing vulnerability assessments, recommendations, training for organizations and law enforcement, grant assistance and crisis response.
From Jewish day schools, celebrating Shabbat with friends, learning about Jewish values or traveling to Israel for the first time, the Federation seeks to enable as many Jewish experiences as possible through its support of local partners, grants and direct program provision. This is more important now than ever. Recent Pew Research Center data found that Jewish connections are dwindling. To ensure the future of the Jewish community, new pathways to connection are paramount. Our community values high-quality Jewish education at every stage of life, and immersive Jewish experiences inspire life-long engagement.
We are proud that several of our younger community members recently participated in the Jewish Changemakers Fellowship, a 3-week leadership development program for young adults offered by the Jewish Federations of North America. The upcoming Pathways to Jewish Experiences program, a collaboration between the PJ Library and Camp Laurelwood which will launch in 2022, will build a cohort of young families “doing Jewish” together. Jewish Teen Education (JTE) is launching again this fall with new teen leadership. Ezra Academy will launch the Engage program as part of a collaboration with the Jewish Federation’s PJ Library program. Each of these unique programs coincides with Jewish Federation’s ongoing investment in Jewish day schools, Jewish camps, Hillels, the Beverly Levy Early Learning Center, as well as programs like Birthright, Masa and Onward Israel, all which send young Jews to Israel.
Every charitable dollar is precious and must be maximized for impact in our community. As recommended by the strategic plan, the Federation has restructured its allocations process with the goal of increasing funds that will be deployed to address key community priorities. This effort will gradually shift over time to enable an easier adjustment for funding beneficiaries. We will continue to support our local organizations and the community’s highest priorities.
As an important voice of the collective Jewish community, the Jewish Federation directly and through our state and national partners, stands up and speaks out to advocate for Jewish principles, values and critical needs. We are there to represent the community as we address issues like hate crime, boycotts and discrimination. Whether it is the Jewish community in the cross-hairs of attack or other faith communities are threatened, we are there.
Following the strategic roadmap will help us to create and sustain a strong and vibrant future for our Jewish community.