Jewish Federation’s Adam Laver Lives Jewishly and Serves the Community

Adam Laver (Courtesy of Blank Rome)

Adam Laver, a Rittenhouse Square resident, is a second-generation member of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Center City. He had his bar mitzvah there.

And now, Laver’s two children, daughter Alana and son Noah, are third-generation members at BZ-BI. And they also had their bat and bar mitzvahs there.

For Laver, this was never a question. Participation in the Jewish community has been mandatory for his family since his ancestors came over from Ukraine and helped establish some of the early Jewish fraternal organizations in Philadelphia.

Today though, it’s perhaps more mandatory than ever. Laver, a real estate lawyer at Blank Rome LLP, has served the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia since 2001, right after he graduated from law school.

But now he’s leading the organization’s emergency response committee, which is organizing allocations from the Philly Stands with Israel fund. The Federation has raised more than $15 million for Israel since Oct. 7. The money has gone to organizations such as Leket, Israel’s national food bank, and United Hatzalah, which organizes emergency medical response efforts.

“People were very moved initially, and it showed,” Laver said. “There is a sense right now that this is ongoing.”

It’s Laver’s job to keep it going. Fellow Jews in the area will tell him they’ve already given money. But then they’ll ask if he needs more.

“We’re concerned about resiliency. We’re concerned about the threat from the north. We’re not turning any dollars away,” Laver said.

In December, Sarah Solomon, the Federation’s chief development officer, said long-term needs might be next for the fund. Those could include infrastructure, community rebuilding and trauma counseling.

“Nothing can be taken for granted. There’s a sense of our fragility. It’s so concerning…the Jew hatred locally and around the world necessitates doing everything we can to secure a strong Jewish homeland,” Laver said. “It’s so vital and it can be overwhelming. But rather than allow it to be overwhelming, we each need to think about how we can contribute and move the needle even incrementally and in small ways.”

“I’m so happy I have the opportunity to chair the emergency response committee and work with other people who want to donate because it combats the feeling of helplessness. I encourage those who are feeling that to pick up the phone, make a donation, write a letter to a representative or sit down with a friend for a cup of coffee to educate and enlighten,” Laver continued. “There are a lot of people with skewed views, and we cannot be silent.”

More than 20 years ago, Laver met his wife, Sara, doing advocacy work for the Federation in Washington, D.C.

Today, the couple tries to pass their values down to their teenage children. It’s not just about serving the Jewish Federation and supporting Israel, according to Laver. It’s about living Jewishly.

The lawyer describes a typical weekend in his household:

Friday night is Shabbat dinner. Friends are over. The kids help lead blessings. Laver talks about the Philly Stands with Israel fund. Alana Laver talks about her Jewish Student Union activities in school. She also brings up the tension between some of the students over the Israel-Hamas war.

Saturday morning is for services at BZ-BI. Then on Sunday, Noah Laver goes off to the Jewish Family and Children’s Service’s teen empowerment program. He learns about philanthropic giving and how to prioritize allocations. His sister is an alum of the program.

And after Laver drops Noah Laver off, he takes Alana Laver to the Kaiserman JCC for her Diller Teen Fellows program, an initiative that connects Jewish teens to the Jewish community.

“Our free time is spent working on behalf of our community,” Laver said.

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