Lillian’s Café, organized and run through Rockland Jewish Family Service, is a unique program designed to employ individuals on the Autism Spectrum. It provides job training and real work experience to enhance the strengths and potential of each employee - who hold themselves to the highest standard of food service and customer relations, skills that will translate to future careers in hospitality, business, and other ventures.
This past summer, Hillel of Rockland brought over 30 current and former students to Poland on a learning mission. The group was inspired, discovering deep connections with their Jewish heritage in the places where it flourished, and motivated, seeing the terrible places where that legacy was all but destroyed. Hillel serves the large community of Jewish students at Rockland Community College.
Each year, thousands of students from across Rockland’s public and private schools visit the Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance, encountering artifacts from the Shoah, speaking with educators and survivors, and learning that there is no place for hate in our community. Last week, the Museum brought together almost two dozen Holocaust survivors from around Rockland to commemorate Kristallnacht with over 100 participants.
Earlier this Fall, the Jewish Community Center hosted hundreds of families at its largest gathering in years, its Rocktober festival. Seniors, kids, teens and people from across our community make the JCC a lively place every day.
These are our major partner agencies in Rockland. They are beneficiaries of our annual campaign, and the programs we support at these agencies help make our community great.
We work with Leket Israel to address food insecurity and with World ORT/Kfar Silver to help disadvantaged and vulnerable youth in Israel.
As part of our year-round Adult Education programs, we just had a wonderful Global Day of Learning, thanks to our educators and our great Director of Operations, Cantor Barry Kanarek; and our county-wide PJ Library program reaches hundreds of Jewish children with new books every month.
Addressing antisemitism, standing up for Israel, engaging local, state and federal legislators and executives on behalf of the Jewish community, building relationships with non-profits outside of our community, and sharing a positive, strategic vision for our future are all part of our daily work at the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County.
We are grateful to work with our partners at congregations throughout the county, from Pearl River to New City, & from Nyack to Orangetown. I’ve personally learned a great deal from the wonderful Rabbinic leadership of the synagogues and temples that are part of the board of Rabbis.
And we are building new relationships every day with synagogues, schools, camps and other Jewish institutions in every corner of the county. Our Community Security Initiative builds on common interests, common needs, and our shared identity.
I’m sharing this ‘tour’ today to point out something that is too easy to forget, sometimes. There is much that brings us together. More, in fact, than what divides us. Your Federation is not only committed to bringing our community together. We deploy our staff, our lay leadership, our educators, our social media, and the resources you so generously entrust us with to that end, every day.
This year, we are introducing a new way for you to help us do each of these vital tasks. We are raising additional funds for specific areas of our work -helping the vulnerable, supporting Israel, building community - and securing our institutions. Tuesday November 29th marks ‘Giving Tuesday’, and this month we are raising critical dollars to support our innovative Community Security Initiative. You can see more details directly below. Any donation you make until November 29th to support the security initiative will be matched by local and national partners.
Early in the new year we will be introducing the next of our ‘micro-campaigns’ helping the vulnerable. We’ll share more details soon.