We are all indispensable. To our families, our loved ones - our loss leaves a gaping chasm, never to be filled. And so we cherish those whom we hold dear. In the case of our extended family, our people, we face a thousand gaping chasms and more. So what do we do with this collective loss? All that we can do. We bind our wounds by binding ourselves together once more, so at least the chasms we can bridge are indeed bridged.
How do you bind and bridge a community still aching with loss, and still reckoning with its own need for repair even before October 7th?
You begin with people of goodwill and fierce commitment. You leverage emotion, while seeking out expertise, wisdom, and resources. You don’t let anyone stand in your way, through pessimism, cynicism, or fear. You bring to bear all of the resources and partnerships of a network a hundred times larger and more. You think big, and set ambitious goals. You do what no other organization in the community can do, what no one else sets out to do.
You bridge. You bind. You convene. You find and deliver more resources and more funding than anyone thought possible to the people who need it most and need it now. You give a megaphone to the people for the things that must be said. You collaborate to (almost) seamlessly bring close to a thousand community members together with 300,000 more to stand TOGETHER.
You do it because it must be done. You do it because you are an indispensable, central, and eminently capable organization. You do it because people from every corner of the community turn to seek your capacity, your reach, your skillset, your network and your voice when it is needed the most.
I’ve been writing these columns each week for a year and a half. I’ve sought the support of donors in our community, but I’ve never articulated this truth in this way, because it has never been more apparent than it is now.
Your Jewish Federation does things that no one else can do.
It sees emergent needs - in Ukraine, in Israel, at home - and it raises the bar on raising funds to meet those needs. It identifies and addresses very real and very significant security concerns amid a tsunami of antisemitism, and it raises the level of security for institutions across the breadth of the community. It convenes thousands to stand together in our own county in a matter of hours, and it knits together Jews in their hundreds to travel together and wave our flags together before the eyes of the world in a matter of days.
Your Federation is not among the largest such organizations. Actually, it is among the smallest. But as a mentor of mine from decades ago once said to me, we Jews are compelled to punch above our weight. That is what we do at the Federation, every day.
Almost two months ago, we determined to put our annual campaign on hold, to focus exclusively on the immediate and overwhelming needs in Israel. We’ve done so, and we are very proud of what we accomplished - not only in our fundraising, but in our advocacy, our community building, our logistics, our solidarity, and our love for each other. Now, as we approach Chanukah and the year-end, we are turning back to you to sustain and to increase our capacity to do all that sets us apart - and all that we strive to accomplish. Each of you is indispensable to those who love you.
Ultimately what makes the Federation indispensable is how we express and act upon our love for the Jewish people.
Your support of our annual campaign is essential, and your partnership is a blessing. Thank you for choosing to support our work.