We are a special people. Every year, at the completion of the High Holidays, I am reminded of this sentiment. The stories of faith that are recounted as part of the liturgy remind us that we have deep connections to our traditions and values. The recent spate of natural disasters in North America and the Caribbean has served to test our commitment to these values. And an opportunity halfway around the world in Uganda provided another opportunity for our community to demonstrate how special we are. Through your generosity and support, the Howard County Jewish community was able to contribute to relief efforts in Houston, Florida, and Uganda. Here’s the impact of our support:
- Hurricane Harvey –Through the combined efforts of JFNA and the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, a total of $14.M has been committed as of September 19, 2017. This includes $5M from Federations across American, of which $11,188 was contributed from our Howard County community.
- Hurricane Irma – The response across the system has been much more muted – a consequence of the timing right on the heels of Harvey. As of mid-September, a total of $205,000 has been committed to JFNA, either to the national donation site or allocations from communities.
- Uganda Campaign: This one-month-long campaign resulted in a remarkable $20,968 raised from over 147 donors within our community. These funds provided enough to feed the entire community of 2,000 Ugandan Jews for 2 days.
I am not at all surprised at the swift response from our community when you heard the “call to action” to support people in crisis – it’s who we are. Maintaining that strong sense of Jewish community and helping those closer to home remain key priorities for the Federation. So, I have another call to action for you. Our 2018 Campaign is off to a great start, but we need your help. Mail back your pledge cards, go online and make your pledge or donation, or call the office to confirm your 2018 Campaign pledge.
We have a busy fall planned, providing many opportunities to connect with each other and your Jewish identify. Our Israel programming kicks off with Israel Cafe as our shlicha, Ella Haeztni, shares her experiences hiking the Israel National Trail, where she encountered many different communities across Israel. Beginning in October, on the second Wednesday of the month, Ella will be recounting some of these communities that she got to know and discuss how they reflect diversity in Israel. Later this month, 250 women in the community will be joining together in sisterhood at The Great Challah Bake to make challah as part of the international Shabbat Project. And in November, we will host our third annual Global Day of Jewish Learning.
Donate, volunteer, come to a program – become more involved! We are stronger together when we help create a special Jewish community right here in Howard County.