As a fundraiser, one of the first lessons I learned was that if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. I believe that the concept extends far beyond fundraising (though it is a good message to remember each year as we begin our annual campaign). In fact, I am confident that the idea is as old as a shepherd deciding to cross a swift river - or not - to rescue a stray lamb. Nothing happens without effort.
Here at the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County, we have begun to push boundaries in ways and directions we haven’t tried for years, certainly since before the pandemic. As a Jewish community, we often emulate our forefather Jacob, who famously became “Israel” when he wrestled with the angel - the name literally means “he who struggles with the Almighty”.
We are no strangers to struggle. What we must do, what we can do, is struggle with a sense of purpose and direction, aiming to achieve growth and positive outcomes for our community.
We had no security infrastructure in a time of growing, violent antisemitism? We built one.
We had few opportunities to help our sisters and brothers caught up in war? We raised record funds.
We have a community that hasn’t often come together? We worked with great partners and created a celebration of Israel that unites rather than divides.
We’ll continue to do this with your help. Last year we beat our campaign target. This year, we’ll beat it by more. Next year, with your help, we’ll raise our expectations even further. And we will be guided, going forward, by the outcome of an intense strategic planning process we have completed over the past year.
Nothing happens without effort. And it is appropriate for me to thank those whose efforts have brought energy and purpose into focus for us this past year. Our gratitude extends to Marcy and Steve, our Co-Presidents; our executive committee and Board; our committees, especially our Campaign, Community Relations and Strategic Planning Committees and their leadership; our great staff - Barry, Ethan, and Esther; our Midreshet educators, volunteers, interns and advisers; our community’s spiritual leaders; our allies and friends in the greater Rockland community; our beneficiary agencies who make Jewish Rockland come alive; and of course to all of our partners who so generously support our work.
Thank you, and let’s discover our community’s full potential together!
Chief Executive Officer