As the world slowly emerges from the Covid pandemic, people everywhere are re-discovering the importance of community. At the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Rockland County, we have striven to maintain our Rockland Jewish Community throughout the pandemic. And the response has shown that people care about belonging.
Rockland’s synagogues are coming out of this pandemic with an eye towards the future. They are looking for new ways to create that sense of belonging, a sense of extended family. If you are Jewish or connected to someone Jewish, you are part of this family. We want to help you find your spiritual home and community.
The pages in this brochure are a starting point — use them to explore and find a community where you feel at home, one that will help you on your Jewish journey and that feels like family.
Cantor Barry Kanarek
Director, Jewish Education & Engagement
Leket Israel is the largest food bank and food rescue organization in Israel. Rockland’s Federation has had a long-standing relationship with Leket because we know how important it is to take care of the most basic need of making sure people who struggle to feed themselves and their families have food to put on the table each and every day.
During the year of the pandemic, Leket Israel had to change the way it feeds people in need. It went from rescuing good, nutritious food from restaurants, hotels, and even the IDF, and feeding more than 200,000 Israelis per week, to buying 12,000 meals a day because just like here in Rockland County, the need for food increased tangentially as the Pandemic worsened and people lost their jobs.
Here in Rockland County’s Jewish community, we have a strong relationship with Leket Israel. It’s a special project we support directly and that has come to mean a lot to us. Through donations to Jewish Federation, we can see the difference those donations make in the lives of those who are helped by Leket Israel.
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The Community Relations Council is Federation’s advocacy arm. One of its prime roles is as the Rockland Jewish community’s voice with elected officials at every level from national to local. The CRC has developed relationships with many of these people and will contact them when there’s an issue that is of concern, and must be addressed. From gatherings the were highly visible, such as the one that occurred after the Monsey stabbings, to those that are strictly behind-the-scenes, the CRC takes a strong and active role in combatting antisemitism no matter where it occurs.
The CRC makes sure our elected officials understand the pernicious effects the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) has on the State of Israel, and the hateful rhetoric that is too pervasive on certain social media channels and group pages in and around Rockland County. When the CRC becomes aware of such hate speech or any violent threats against the Jewish community, it makes sure our local officials are aware of them so they can be dealt with.
The most important role Jewish Federation plays in the community is in community weaving. Federation has built a platform where all organizations and individuals can come together to share common concerns. Through Community Weaving, Federation brings synagogues and organizations together to work for the common good of Rockland’s Jewish community.
Whether it’s to learn how to apply for security grants, or the PPP during the pandemic, or learning how to set up endowment funds for the financial security of an organization through Life and Legacy, Federation has made Community Weaving the important initiative it is for the community.