2017-12-06 / Columns

So much to be thankful for and so many ways to be involved

Jewish Federation CEO

This time of year, we are reminded to give thanks for what we have and to give back for those in need. It’s one of my favorite times of the year—and one that provides the opportunity for a lot of reflection on what makes our Jewish community so unique and special. We truly do have a thriving community here in South Jersey, and I am grateful to be a part of it personally and professionally. The connections and the community that happen each and every day here throughout our Jewish Federation family is truly overwhelming.

Last month, we worked with Board Member Matthew Podolnick to bring to life the Mensches with Wrenches program. It was a morning of mitzvot, where over 50 men from our community came out to be handymen to the residents at Lions Gate, Saltzman House, Dubin House, and Gesher House. The men helped put up mezuzahs, build furniture, move furniture, hang pictures, and the like. And, they got to spend some quality time with the residents, who not only enjoyed the help, but also enjoyed the company. I’d like to give a big thank you to Matt for dreaming up this project and working with Jewish Federation to make it happen.

For #Giving-

Tuesday this year, we asked the community to give back of themselves. Our donation collection for our Federation family was a huge success and we look forward to finding more opportunities throughout the year for folks to give back in this way. And, we were happy to see more people interested in volunteering their time. This is a truly special way to give back and make a difference in someone’s life. It can spark a real connection and a lasting friendship.

Coming in January, we have another day of community connections and giving back to look forward to: Community Mitzvah Day. Our area synagogues, day schools, Jewish organizations, and Jewish Federation family are coming together for TWO days of mitzvot this year! Mark your calendars for Sunday, Jan. 14 and Monday, Jan. 15. This coincides with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which shares the same value of doing a good deed for someone else. Volunteer opportunities and participating locations are coming soon.

Our 2018 European Roots & Revival Mission next April is another way to engage with others in our Jewish community. We’re heading to Poland, Berlin, and Prague with Rabbi Jerry and Peggy David on the trip of a lifetime. We’ll be exploring Jewish roots while we journey through the history of Eastern European Jewry, the Holocaust, and Jewish revival. We’ll also be exploring the family histories of those joining us on this mission. For more information on this trip, please contact Ronit Boyd at rboyd@jfedsnj. org.

We’re excited to announce that for Shark Tank 2018, we’ll be introducing a new teen component. This will engage teens in project collaboration, give them the opportunity to access funding for their projects, and steer them on the path of creating something new and good to meet the needs of our community. More information on Shark Tank 2018 is coming soon.

It is with a grateful heart that I want to thank everyone in our community for taking ownership in our future. Together, we are stronger. Together, we make an IMPACT. 


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