The first breath of spring is upon us and change is in the air.  The birds are returning, crocuses and daffodils are starting to push through the moist soil and the days are lengthening.  We just celebrated Tu B’Shevat, marveling at nature’s bounty of trees, and soon we will be celebrating Purim, when a change of heart helped save the Jewish people.  Our thoughts at the Federation turn to change at this time of year as well.  We are beginning our planning and budgeting for FY 2018.  So our question to you – what would you like to change?  What do you value most about what Federation does?  What do you wish we could do? We want to hear from you.  And, if you have always wanted to help drive change, why not consider joining the Federation board?  We are building our slate of candidates now.    Please contact me directly at or contact the office to express your interest in joining the board or to simply share your thoughts about Federation.

The Federation staff thinks about how we help change lives through everything we do.   Our work revolves around community outreach and programming, supporting Israel and overseas, and fundraising to support all we do. Our community programs this year include The Great Challah Bake, Global Day of Jewish Learning, Yom HaShoah, our community Purim Palooza and Good Deeds Day.  The staff has designed programs to meet the needs and interests of our community.  Now in its fourth year, our PJ Library program has enabled pre-school children to celebrate Shabbat together. Families are receiving and reading Jewish books, courtesy of the Federation.  And our Tots and Tales program is overflowing.  Our young adult division is growing and will graduate another leadership class this spring. Our women’s division draws crowds for its signature Red Tent programs and our first ever Pom Lion Tea, and our seniors have select programs just for them.

We have brought Israel to Howard County through our shlicha , Hadar Shahar, whom we have been lucky to have for the past two years.  She has worked with our synagogues and religious schools, bringing Israel to life.  Her adult Hebrew Café was “sold out” and she has brought inspiring speakers, films and adult programs that help us develop stronger ties to the State of Israel.  We are in the process of selecting our next shaliach to replace Hadar – whoever we select will have a hard act to follow! 

As we plan for the future and think about changes we want to make, I encourage you to make your 2017 pledge if you haven’t already done so.  Every pledge and every donation counts towards helping us provide opportunities for connection and supporting Jewish life here and abroad.


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