A Gift To Our Entire Community

Tags: Federation, Campaign

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By: Daniel N. Zelman, board chair
Jewish Federation of Cleveland

Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News


Jewish Cleveland is one of the most committed communities in the country when it comes to taking care of one another – and nothing exemplifies that more than the strength and impact of our annual Campaign for Jewish Needs year after year.

I have been involved with the campaign for more than 40 years – as a volunteer, a donor, a general campaign chair, a leader on the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s board of Ttrustees, and now the board chair. My leadership roles on the boards of the Jewish Family Service Association, Jewish Federations of North America, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage and Menorah Park have also allowed me to see the work funded by the campaign firsthand from many different perspectives.

In all those years, never have we faced so many overlapping and escalating crises, and never has steadfast funding been more critical and its impact more palpable. Our annual Campaign for Jewish Needs is the backbone of our phenomenal Jewish community. Federation and its beneficiary agencies rely on the campaign to provide essential programs and services without interruption. For example:

• Bellefaire JCB, JFSA and Hebrew Shelter Home sustain our strength and resiliency and respond to every imaginable human need.

• The Mandel Jewish Community Center connects our community and enhances our physical, intellectual, and spiritual wellbeing.

• The Maltz Museum builds bridges of tolerance by sharing our heritage and history.

• Menorah Park ensures we provide everyone the ability to live full Jewish lives with dignity at every stage and age.

• The Jewish Education Center of Cleveland deepens the learning agendas throughout our community and delivers engaging teen outreach like @Akiva and interfaith programs like jHUB.

• JFC Security, LLC – Federation’s security provider – partners with law enforcement to help keep our community open and welcoming.

• Our local Hillel chapters foster a vibrant Jewish life at local universities and work with students to address the anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses today.

• In partnership with the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and others – including civic, faith and business leaders across Greater Cleveland – we are combating rising antisemitism through aggressive public awareness and community engagement efforts, coupled with educational programs for all ages and backgrounds.

There are also so many more individual stories and specific examples of the lifesaving and lifechanging work we enable together. Among these, I want to share one that has stayed with me this campaign season. Last winter, a hospitalized Holocaust survivor felt retraumatized by the combination of her complicated health conditions and being in an institutional setting. She had repeated paranoid thoughts that the Nazis were entering her room at night, trying to take her away. Thanks to JFSA, her longtime home health aide stayed with her for several hours each day to help calm and ease her anxieties. Her aide provided much-needed support and care, reading to her and assisting her during a time when hospitalizations were at their peak and hospital personnel were over-whelmed caring for other patients.

Through the campaign for Jewish Needs, every single person in our community has the power to do good that goes everywhere and to make more stories like these possible. Every gift is amplified by Jewish Cleveland’s collective generosity to go further, do more, and make a tangible difference where it is needed most – right now and in the future. This is the beauty of federated giving.

At the end of the day, it’s simple: The more people participate in the campaign, the more people we can help. Your gift is a gift to our entire community. I hope you will join me by making it today.

To donate to the 2023 Campaign for Jewish Needs, click here.

Learn More: Federation, Campaign