Planning For Our Community's Future

Shalom! My name is Kyla Epstein Schneider. I volunteer with the Federation because I believe we are all in this together. And, through Federation, we can plan for our community’s future. We can be prepared.

Preparation takes planning – and planning is not always the most exciting thing to talk about. This is very behind-the-scenes kind of work – but essential work.

We are confronting serious issues – aging, our elderly – soon to be elderly and the increasing number of our family, friends and community members who are and will be suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia in the years ahead. Numbers are expected to nearly double in the next decade.

This affects the whole world, including our community. I imagine that many, many of us in this room have been impacted by these terrible diseases that steal cognition and memory.

So, here we are in Cleveland, in Jewish Cleveland, asking “what are the things we need to be doing to be better prepared?”

I chair the Federation task force called Nakum. The name comes from a text in the book of Leviticus that says “mipnei savah – takum” when ones see an older person - one stands up. A fitting name… so we are standing up. Right now… to be ready.

At this point – we are in the thick of it. We are researching and analyzing data about what we currently have – and what we’ll need.

But, the only way that all of this planning and thinking and theory is put into action – to result in services and programs and people – is with dollars. This community has a fantastic track record of doing the right thing at the right time. And it takes dollars.

We are all getting older and we are all living longer and – we have an obligation help each other live well.

As Jews, we have a value proposition for caring for our elderly with dignity and love and concern. As a Clevelander, this is where I live and where I hope grow old. As a Jewish Clevelander, cherishing our elderly matters to me personally and communally.

Tonight, as we celebrate the work we have done to support our community in the up-coming year, please know that you helped to secure the future of the important endeavors of our community in the years to come.

You’ve stood up – and may we all have the strength to continue to do so. I applaud our efforts. Thank you.


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