08/25/2019

A Closer Look at Our Community Needs

Tags: Federation, Israel, Overseas, Security

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Each June, we allocate the dollars raised through the Campaign for Jewish Needs to a wide range of local and international organizations.Click here to see our most recent Allocations Report (on pages 16-17).

At the same time we are helping to address immediate needs, we also are planning for issues that require longer-term strategies – such as security, education, and human services. For example:

Enhancing Local Security

In the face of growing anti-Semitism – which some estimate to be at near-historic levels – enhanced security is not an option; it’s a necessity. Therefore, we are investing significant resources into further increasing the level of security available in Jewish Cleveland, including:

  • Increasing the number of highly trained, armed guards at early childhood and preschool programs, schools, and synagogues, as well as patrolling the community
  • Implementing sophisticated security and site control protocols at even more locations
  • Training more volunteer community members to recognize signs of potential threats

The costs associated with our community’s security needs are  significantly more than Campaign alone can cover. It’s vital we help the community access funds from other sources, including government, to help enhance security in Jewish Cleveland.

Jewish Cleveland must remain an open and welcoming community for all who wish to live Jewishly. We must be stronger than hate.

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Education

Education is not only woven into the fabric of Jewish ethos, it is a key driver of our plan to engage more members of our diverse community. This will require us to:

  • Create compelling programs that have the look and feel of something people would do regardless
  • Provide more professional development for the educators, especially in early childhood programs and synagogues
  • Expand the educational resources available to interfaith families that seek deeper Jewish engagement

Through traditional and non-traditional education, we can expand the number of “on-ramps” to Jewish life. In turn, this will enable us to strengthen Jewish identity, enrich Jewish continuity, and shape the community’s next generation of leaders.

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Human Services

As Jews, we have been taught: Kol Yisrael arevim zeh la-zeh (“All Jews are responsible for one another”). At Federation, this not only includes addressing basic needs but understanding – and preparing for – the longer-term issues.

For example, research shows that the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will increase dramatically in the next 20 years. To ensure Jewish Cleveland will be able to properly support these families, we need to:

  • Help families navigate the myriad of services for their loved ones, and provide support and education for family caregivers
  • Raise awareness and promote early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementias

Our work on issues like this extends to the state capital and Washington, D.C. Through a well-orchestrated and coordinated Government Relations effort, we are educating elected officials on the ramifications of potential legislation and budget decisions.

The Federation must continue to support Jewish agencies that provide vital social safety net services to the community’s most vulnerable.

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Driving Growth Overseas

Today, the rapidly growing, high-tech sector in Israel creates 7,000 to 10,000 new jobs each year. Yet, the nation’s higher education system is not yet able to create enough skilled workers. The lack of technical and scientific professionals not only harms the productivity of Israel’s industry and economy, it limits its ability to compete in the global market.

To close this gap, Federation is working closely with others in Israel on a multi-year initiative to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education throughout the country, including Cleveland’s sister community of Beit Shean and the Valley of Springs.

For example, Federation has been a driving force behind designing a new STEM education curriculum for elementary school children, as well as providing the hands-on training and mentorship for educators needed to successfully implement and measure the lesson plans.

No Cleveland organization impacts more Jews around the world than Federation.

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There is a story in the Midrash of an old man planting a fig tree. When the man was asked if he really expected to live long enough to consume the fruits of his labor, he replied, “I was born into a world flourishing with ready pleasures. My ancestors planted for me, and now I plant for my children ...”

Thanks to the continued support of our donors and volunteers, as well as the unwavering commitment of our talented beneficiary agencies, we are not only providing “fruit” for those who need it today, but planting trees for future generations as we were provided by those who came before us.

We take great pride in what we’ve been able to accomplish together, but realize our work is far from complete. We look forward to updating you on our progress on these and many other initiatives as we move forward.


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