The Power of Connections

Federation Co-President Andrea Weinberger on Meaningful Connections, in Israel and at Home.

We all know that it feels good to feel connected to other people, and research has even linked social connections to happiness, health and a longer life. But a recent study suggests that our feelings of connection don’t just make us feel good, they also make us do good.

Together we can do a world of good. The role of Federation is to strengthen, nurture and build our local and worldwide Jewish community by connecting us through our common values. This year, Federation is also connecting Israel to Rockland County by funding the community Shlicha.

Timna has been busy working with all our synagogues and agencies, bringing a little connection to Israel for all of us. Having just returned from Israel, I learned firsthand how powerful those connections can be.

I traveled to Israel to attend the 82nd General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America. Rockland County is one of 153 Federations that convene annually to discuss issues facing Israel and the global Jewish community. The GA was educational, informative and empowering. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about Iran and what the current round of negotiations means for Israel. There was also a discussion among the Presidents and Executives about the Pew study which was both enlightening and encouraging. Together we brainstormed ways to keep Jews connected to their identity regardless of their definition of being Jewish. While being Jewish means different things to different people, it is a connection we all share.

But nothing really prepared me for the connectedness I experienced because of my own Jewish identity. As over 3,000 people began to fill Jerusalem’s convention center for the opening address by Prime Minister Netanyahu, I took my random seat and began talking with the woman next to me. Caryn was from Delaware and I did know someone from there, my camp friend Jan.(Continued from page 1) Well, not only did Caryn know Jan but their sons were best friends. It was unbelievable to me that my Jewish camping experience would years later connect me to my friend’s friend in Israel. As we both started posting on Facebook, the comments began pouring in. Jan was so happy and my other Pinemere Camp friends were in awe. Then I got a message from another camp friend, Jon. His friend Keith – the new CEO of the Seattle Federation – was at the General Assembly. Jon connected us immediately through Facebook and I got to meet Keith. It was an amazing experience proving the power of social media to connect people who might never connect otherwise. My personal Jewish community just got a little larger.

Jewish community is different things to different people, but having a sense of community is what connects us, defines us and makes us stronger. My connections have led me here to the Rockland Jewish community as one of the Presidents of Federation. I am proud to work on behalf of Rockland as part of the Jewish Federations of North America and I urge you to join me. There are countless ways to connect and get involved with Federation. From events and volunteer opportunities to professional or social networking groups and adult education, we can connect you to what you’re looking for.

Connecting has never been easier, so be sure to like our Facebook page (JewishFederationRC), follow us on Twitter (@jewishrockland) and check out our website, Federation connects you to all things Jewish happening in Rockland. We can and will do so much more when we are connected. We are the strength of a people and the power of a community!

— Andrea Weinberger, Co-President


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