As I write this month’s message, I am basking in the glow of our community Challah Bake, where we helped bring a taste of Shabbat to 250 women in our community. The idea of Shabbat, a different day set aside from the rest of the week, when some choose to act differently, is a sacred part of who we are as Jews. When we take the time to observe Shabbat, however we choose to, it also allows us to think about how we can make a difference in the lives of others. Your support of the Federation is a vital way to make that difference.
We have two significant opportunities coming up. November 28 marks Giving Tuesday, when we kick off the giving season with the mitzvah of tzedakah. Please consider volunteering to help make calls at our office (either from 8:30-10:30 am or 5:30-7:30 pm) or participate through social media to help drive pledges and donations. We also have another opportunity to give back on December 25th at Mitzvah Day, with several family-friendly hands-on volunteer projects at Bet Yeladim. Mark your calendars now for one or both of these chances to help make a difference. Finally, this season help provide basics to low income community members with a gift card donation to local markets or gas stations. Please drop off gift cards, especially Giant gift cards, at the Federation office or mail them to our address: 10630 Little Patuxent Pkwy, #400, Columbia 21044.
Here at the Federation, we are also focused on making a difference in the way we operate and deliver service to our community. Over the last 18 months, we’ve faced many changes and are charting a course for the future, thanks to your input. Our interim Executive Director has completed his assessment work and has provided the Board a robust report. We will be taking the next few months to thoughtfully deliberate over the multiple recommendations. This process has helped re-energize parts of our community and has opened dialogue around a number of important topics. Some changes you have already seen, including our decision to change our model for delivering social services. Much progress has been made here, and I plan to share additional details in the near future. Also, after conducting an exploratory meeting over the summer where close to 50 people attended, we have agreed to launch a taskforce to create a Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).
We have had some staff changes as well. Sophie Novinsky retired this past September after 12 years of dedicated service to the Federation. We have hired a part-time employee, Danielle Leder, to support our growing PJ Library program. Our new shlicha, Ella Haetzni, has already delivered her first programs and is settling into the community.
While we plan for the future, we remain committed to creating a vibrant Jewish community by caring for those in need, deepening engagement in Jewish life, and strengthening the bonds among Jews in the county, in Israel, and around the world. Our programs and continued support of community services are all aligned to support this vision. Help us continue to make a difference through your financial support and your active participation.