By Naomi Adler
The end of the calendar year is upon us — which means that, just like you, my inbox is stuffed with donation requests from worthwhile organizations. It’s the time of year when many of us must make hard decisions about where our generosity will accomplish the most good.
At Jewish Federation, our far-reaching impact means that I could give you 1,000 reasons why community members like you choose to support our work. But for now, I’ll give you just three of the reasons I chose to give to our Jewish Federation in 2019.
This past year has not been an easy one for American Jewish communities.
Among the lessons learned, we’ve seen the importance of having a central hub for our Greater Philadelphia Jewish communities to turn to in times of crisis. As anti-Semitism continues to rise, our Jewish Federation has doubled down on our investment to protect local institutions by providing building assessments and security trainings. We continue to partner with interfaith communities, local law enforcement and national organizations to promote peace and share information.
Not only do we protect and defend our communities, but I have been proud to see how we have invested in efforts that will create a more educated public.
This past year, we have edified our greater community about the challenges facing our Jewish community through conversations with the last of our Holocaust survivors and with our teens on how to talk about Israel. We have successfully advocated for more robust hate crimes legislation and convened our communities to heal and empower individuals to stand up and speak out.
Our Jewish homeland, the democratic state of Israel, is also a major reason why I give.
When Israel is in crisis, the Jewish Federation is there — as when last month, hundreds of rockets were fired from Gaza and we immediately jumped in to help, both through our partner agencies on the ground and by allocating emergency funds for victims of trauma and other support services for our sisters and brothers forced into the public bomb shelters in our hard-hit partnership region of Netivot and Sdot Negev.
When disaster strikes, I’m comforted to know that the relationships we have built in Israel ensure that our dollars are going straight to the communities that are most in need.
As a donor to the Jewish Federation, I also am proud to give to our organization because it amplifies my giving power. Through collective giving, my gift is combined with the gifts of others, infusing my donation with a capacity it would never have on its own.
Our refreshed jewishphilly.org website has made it easier for every donor to track where their dollars are being invested, and to see their collective impact. Through each of our donations, we are able to disseminate larger grants as well as raise a collective, powerful voice that speaks loudly against hate and in support of our communities’ most vulnerable members.
Each and every cherished dollar donated to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia symbolizes our communities’ strength, their resilience and their deep commitment to our own permanence.
As the year 2019 comes to a close, I hope you’ll join me in investing in our own Jewish communities. In times of uncertainty, when Jews across our region feel isolated or divided across political and economic lines, the Jewish Federation’s work to keep our communities strong and connected is more imperative than ever before.
For all of the Jewish Exponent readers who have already put their trust in us, I thank you for helping us to carry the light. I wish you all a happy Chanukah and a joyful 2020.
Naomi Adler is the president and CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.