Rachel Weinberg, Wolf Award Recipient
Rachel Weinberg, recipient of the 2015 Amb. Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Young Campaigner of the Year Award, brings an energy and enthusiasm to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Campaign for Jewish Needs that’s hard to match. She believes, “The stronger the Federation, the stronger our community.” Read more about her in this Q&A.
How did you become involved in the Jewish Cleveland community?
I grew up in and around the Federation. My parents were extremely active in the Federation and volunteered every opportunity they got. Also, I went to a Jewish pre- and day school, which has really shaped me into who I am today. Because of all this, very early on I had this strong sense that “being Jewish was cool.”
Share with us a moment when you felt proud being Jewish?
There are many but this one’s my favorite. I have this memory of me and my sisters tagging along with my mother doing “mobile meals.” I was six or seven then, and we would deliver homemade meals to the elderly living in the Jewish community. This was an ‘aha!’ moment for me. People would open the door, and you could see that they truly needed your help. If we didn’t deliver them a meal, they would probably go hungry that day. This was when I realized what my community, our community, stands for.
What’s your Federation story?
I always volunteered in the Jewish community: BBYO as a high school student, Hillel during college, and so on. But, when I came to Cleveland, my sister set me up to go on a mini mission, a tour of the Federation’s work here in Cleveland. I visited just a handful of agencies, and met a handful of people, and what I saw blew my mind. It was like, “Amen! This is it! This is where I want to give my time.” These people truly needed us.
Why do you volunteer for the Federation?
Growing up, I benefitted from the Federation system. And now, I want my children and their children to benefit from the Federation system. This is what makes young children, adults, into the people they are. The stronger the Federation, the stronger our community.
What does being the Young Campaigner of the Year mean to you?
It’s such a privilege. I’m so honored to be chosen for this award and to be on the list of people who’ve received this award previously. I love being a Campaigner for the Federation, and seriously, I can do this for days. In my heart, I really feel that this is what I’m here to do.
Why Young Leadership Division (YLD)?
Because we’re the next generation of cohorts who’ll decide the future of our community. It’s our responsibility to make our generation and the next generation aware of what the Federation does, why it’s so beautiful, where the money goes, so that we can make it stronger. It starts with us, you know! If we don’t do anything, no one else will.
Any advice for young people in our community?
My advice: Be proactive! We can’t take for granted the strong community we grew up in. It’s up to us to step up and take responsibility and continue to build the future like the individuals who built the future for us. If it’s not us, then who? So, do it for us, do it for our future, do it for our community!
Learn more about her accomplishments in this short video.
Rachel accepted this award at the 2016 Campaign Closing Celebration. View photos from the event on the Jewish Cleveland Facebook page.