What does the Jewish Federation of Cleveland do?

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland is the hub of Jewish Cleveland. In this capacity, it plays two critical roles:

  1. Driving the development of innovative solutions and collaborative services through comprehensive, strategic community planning that enables the community to address immediate and long-term needs ; and
  2. Creating the scale necessary to effect social change and provide a safety net for the community in times of crisis in ways no one person or organization could do alone.

By identifying and addressing the wide range of communal needs – from social services to education to security and more – we are able to change and improve lives in Cleveland, Israel, and around the world.

Where does my contribution to the annual campaign go?

The dollars raised each year through the Campaign for Jewish Needs support the critical services and programs provided each year by a wide range of local beneficiary agencies, as well as national and international organizations. Each contribution also helps fund longer-term initiatives designed to keep our diverse community safe and growing. To see how your campaign contributions were allocated this past year, click here.

What is “federated” giving?

Federated giving is an approach to fundraising in which donors contribute to an annual campaign that addresses needs throughout the entire community. In Jewish Cleveland, that annual campaign is Federation’s Campaign for Jewish Needs. The Jewish Federation of Cleveland is the only organization in Cleveland that focuses on the health and vitality of the entire Jewish community. Federated giving helps agencies focus on their respective missions and enables donors to support the community without having to choose one worthy organization or initiative over another.

What is Federation’s role in community security?

Through its security provider – JFC Security, LLC – Federation partners with various law enforcement agencies to help prevent, prepare for, and respond to potential security threats to our community. JFC Security strives to empower the Jewish community and its organizations into establishing a “culture of security” through increased awareness, preparedness, and resiliency throughout our community.

In the face of increasing antisemitism and emboldened acts of hate-fueled violence, Federation continues to invest significant resources – financial, technical, and human – into enhancing community security. JFC Security currently employs more than 30 highly trained, seasoned professionals – including former FBI agents and chiefs of police – to help monitor and patrol the community. JFC Security also offers a range of security training programs and safety assessments for various Jewish organizations in Northeast Ohio.

How does Federation define antisemitism?

The Federation recognizes the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which was adopted in 2016:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Contemporary examples of antisemitism – or Jew hate – in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel (or to alleged priorities of Jews worldwide) than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

To read the IRHA’s full definition of antisemitism, click here.

When is criticism of Israel considered antisemitic?

Perhaps the most well-known test of when criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism has been laid out by Natan Sharansky in a 2004 essay 3D Test of Anti-Semitism: Demonization, Double Standards and Delegitimization. Sharanksy describes the 3D Test, as follows:

  • Delegitimizes Israel – by denying the Jewish people's right to self-determination (i.e., the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status without interference); by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Demonizes Israel – by charging Jews with conspiring to harm humanity; by blaming Jews for “why things go wrong”; by implying Israelis/Jews are evil; by promulgating such stereotypical myths about the Jews controlling the media, economy, government, etc.
  • Subjects Israel to a double standard – by criticizing only Israel on certain issues and ignoring similar situations conducted by other countries; by implementing a different moral standard for Jews and Israel compared to the rest of the world (e.g., the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions [BDS] movement singles out Israel for differential and discriminatory treatment in the international arena).

What role does Federation play in either American or Israeli politics (or both)?

Federation is an apolitical, non-partisan organization by design. Our work does not reflect any political views, so our humanitarian and other efforts in conjunction with non-governmental organizations continue regardless of the political landscape in the United States, Israel or anywhere else.

We are proud of our long and successful track record of educating elected U.S. officials at the local, state, and national level on specific issues that are critical to our community, such as the need for expanding Holocaust education in Ohio public schools.