The Values of the Jewish Federation

Based on a speech delivered by Dr. Stephanie Wain, Major Gifts Chair, at the 2020 Major Gifts Event


The Jewish Federation is guided by three ideals: “Klal Yisrael” - a deep and abiding love for all Jewish people and a sacred promise that we will be there for each other; “Chesed” -  caring for the most vulnerable. We will never turn away from people in need; and “Chinnuch” fulfilling the promise of creating strong, vibrant and inclusive communities, rich in Jewish learning and Jewish life.

So when you are asked by your friends and family, why do you, year and year support the Jewish Federation? 

This is why...

No one can do what the Jewish Federation does in helping the Jewish diaspora and Israel. No one cares for those in need, builds Jewish community at home and abroad AND initiates rescue programs with just 24 hours’ notice. 

— In Ukraine more than 30,000 elderly Jews and 4,600 children whose lives were disrupted by conflict received  food and medicine from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, also known as the Joint or the JDC

— Victims of the Nepal earthquake were immediately helped by an expert supporting team funded by our affiliates the Joint and Jewish Agency of Israel

— Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) provided immediate support to the Houston Jewish community after Hurricane Harvey

— In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting at the Tree of Life JFNA is now lobbying with state officials throughout the US and was just successful in Maryland to ensure Holocaust education occurs in public schools.

— And most recently financing security systems for synagogues and Jewish centers around the world which just a few weeks ago saved the lives of 70 people in Germany! The recently installed fortified hardened doors stood up against the barrage of gun shots and the improvised bomb set off by the deranged anti-Semitic gunman in his attempt to blast through. Along with its new CCTV security camera providing further safety.  For in 2015 this synagogue received a grant from the security assistance fund of  the Jewish Agency for Israel. So far 11 millions dollars have been paid out to jewish communities in more than 58 countries for security systems.  

None of this can happen without a Federation infrastructure behind them! 

You and I can’t actually upfront give to each of these crises or emergencies. We have to give to an organization that reflects our values so that the funds are ready at that moment. 

Equally important we give to The Federation to ensure that the most important needs of our own community are met: 

The Federation supports Ezra Academy, Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy , Jewish Teen Education (JTE), JCC Day Camps and Camp Laurelwood to ensure our children can have a strong Jewish education and camp experience. 

The Federation supports Jewish Family Service as it helps adults with disabilities, our aging adults, counseling and family services and adoption . 

And The Towers for it provides our older community members with high quality living arrangements.

And of course the JCC  - the heart of our community with its exciting activities for our  active retirees, STEM programs for our children, daycare for our working parents, a first class gym and classes to keep us all healthy, and just about any programs for any interest anyone would have. 

My daughter Shelley Kier and her husband Josh Baum and my granddaughter Miss Pearl are living in this community not only because nana and papi are here but also because of its vibrant Jewish life. Pearl will be going to soon be going to Ezra Academy, and to JCC Day Camps. Josh started playing basket ball. Shelley is working out at the gym and meeting up with friends. Pearl has swim lessons at the JCC today.  Etc etc. And one day I hope Shelley and Josh and then Pearl will be standing here giving the major donor speech. Ldor vdor - from generation to generation. 

Speaking of generations ...

Here we are in 2019. the leaders of this Jewish community. We are the major donors. This get together of the Jewish leaders of New Haven has been held in some form or another for over 100 years. The first meeting was held around 1881 when the first charity was organized by Jewish leaders like Isaac Strouse and Max Adler, the largest manufacturers of corsets in the nation. They created The Hebrew Benevolent Society to assist the Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. Who here are descendants of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants? Probably all of us!

By the mid-1920s, there were  60 New Haven Jewish religious, charitable, fraternal, and Zionist organizations, which led to the creation of the New Haven Jewish Community Council, to  coordinate specifically communal funding for all, the fledgling beginning of the Jewish Federation.

So now here we are,  we are here BECAUSE of them with the same  fundamental ideals with the full knowledge that we more than anyone else in this Jewish community can make the biggest difference to those locally and abroad as a result of our major donation made today, October 27 2019  for our financial gift will have the most impact in dollars  than anyone else. An increase in in our financial gift has the biggest impact. For we want a  Federation major donor dinner to be held 140 years from now  as a result of our support of this strong Jewish community .

We are powerful not only because we generously open our wallets, but because we transform our heartfelt commitment to the future of the Jewish people to real action by actually actively participating in making a difference.  

We need to applause our awesomeness so let me ask you this ... 

  • If you hold a fund at the Jewish Foundation please stand remain standing please —— and you don’t hold your applause
  • If you endowed your gift  please stand  …..
  • If you are a Woman of Vision please stand
  • If you have been president of a tier 1 agency or Jewish federation  please stand
  • If have been a synagogue president please stand
  • If you have chaired a committee please stand
  • If you are or have been a Federation board member please stand
  • If have hosted an Israeli emissary please stand
  • If you have traveled on a Jewish federation mission please

Look around! What an impactful dynamic and exciting  community ! Lets make it stronger! 

Please now open your envelopes and continue your support.

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