2017-07-05 / Columns

Our campaign is in the homestretch; help Federation support fellow Jews

Federation President

As we all settle into our summer plans—camp for the kids, maybe a vacation or a day trip to the shore—we are also entering the last three months of our campaign year. The fourth quarter has begun and we all need to pick up the pace. Federation’s annual allocation to our agencies, Jewish education, Israel and overseas programming, and to our national partners totals more than $3-million each year. A large portion of that allocation comes from the support of your generous donations to JFund.

The Jewish Federation is always there whenever—and wherever—someone is in need. It may be someone close to home, like an elderly Holocaust Survivor who can no longer cook or clean for herself, or halfway around the world, like assisting the last remaining Jews of Yemen, besieged by war and a growing Islamist insurgency. The fact is, it doesn’t matter where, when, or how. If it threatens the welfare and survival of the Jewish people, Federation is there.

We bring hope to struggling families through job training, food pantries, and counseling services. We appeal to federal, state, and local leaders, oppose threats to Israel’s legitimacy, and press for law-enforcement protection for our schools and synagogues. And, we are on the front lines of the war in Ukraine, delivering emergency supplies and helping evacuate to safety Jews whose homes have been destroyed by mortar fire.

For people like Joey, the Jewish Federation helps young adults gain valuable job-skill training in a nurturing environment. Joey is a graduate of Soups & Sweets, a JFCS culinary training program for individuals with special needs. Earlier this year, Joey received the “Employee of the Month” award from his employer, Chef Victor Martin of Ambrosia Treatment Centers. When Joey started at Ambrosia, he had many challenges, but never gave up. Chef Martin said, “Every day his light shined a little brighter.” Since then, Joey has risen to every challenge and has become a big part of Ambrosia’s staff and crew. Chef Martin is very proud of Joey’s growth and development and is excited for his future, saying, “his potential is limitless.”

For people like Itamar, the Jewish Federation mentors individuals with special needs through the job search process. RampUp, run by Federation’s partner agency, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), helps integrate Israelis with special needs into the workforce and promotes their inclusion in all aspects of society. Itamar has cerebral palsy, and RampUp gave him the confidence and tools to ace his job interview. Now, Itamar counsels at-risk students in Tiberias, listening to their challenges and coaching them “like a big brother.” He also teaches them how to play the guitar.

And for people like Sarah (name changed to protect privacy), the Jewish Federation has become a second home. Sarah is a young woman in our Katz JCC special needs program. Her mom recently said, “For the first time during the 17 years since my daughter was diagnosed, I feel our lives are moving forward. The enthusiasm and warmth displayed by both the organizers and participants at the JCC have provided a much-needed social and spiritual foundation for my daughter. When the JCC claims, ‘You belong here,’ truer words are rarely heard.”

Together, WE make an IMPACT: With older adults and individuals with special needs, in Israel and overseas, through community engagement, and with family and youth. Join us today and make a difference in someone’s life. At Federation, we are truly all in this together— join our team—we and our fellow Jews need you more than ever. Donate now at jewishsouthjersey.org/jfund.


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