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The purchase last month of a new campus site for Jewish communal activity on the Main Line was notable largely for the fact that the Akiba Hebrew Academy will move there in a year. Yet this fait accompli is important for more than this one school. The decision by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia to acquire the Delaware County site gives Akiba, soon to be known as the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, room to grow. It will also allow other institutions to eventually move there, and enjoy the site's many advantages in terms of size and facilities.
While this demonstrates the community's laudable commitment to Jewish education, it also highlights a fact that is sometimes forgotten amid the communal scrum for cash for good causes. Only a central fundraising agency like Federation has the ability to plan and act on behalf of the entire community and its needs.
While individual agencies remain vital to the Jewish future, the campus purchase proves again that only by supporting a strong Federation can our community act decisively to pinpoint priority needs -- and then act on them.