Choices...Everything in life is about choices. How do I spend my time? How do I spend my money? How do I choose to express my Judaism? As I reflect on the Unetaneh Tokef prayer recited on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I think about the choices I will make over the coming year to try and lead a more righteous life. As with most of us, family is the most important part of my life. But for me, family also includes the Jewish community. I choose to spend my volunteer time helping lead the Federation to support the needs of our Jewish family here in Howard County, in Israel and abroad. I know many of you feel the same way I do – and choose to be active volunteers and generous donors. Many of you are also involved and generous with your synagogues. We need our collective community to work together to help support Jewish needs and causes.
Here are just a few ways the Federation is making a difference:
- More than 30 adults attended our Hebrew Café to learn conversational Hebrew. This is one way our Shlicha program is bringing Israel to life in Howard County.
- 130+ Jewish adults in their 20s-40s attended Jew Year's Eve, making it the largest gathering of Jewish young adults in the county! This is just one way that oxyGEN builds community.
- More than 25 grandparents, parents and children fill our downstairs conference room each month for Tots & Tales. More than 50 grandparents, parents and children come to Shabbat Tots on Friday to sing songs, read books and learn about Shabbat.
- Our Sky High Sukkah event, where children made edible sukkahs, was sold out and for many families, this was the first time they had celebrated Sukkot. Our PJ Library programs connect young families to others in the community and to the Jewish Federation.
- We donated 37 pounds of food to the Howard County Food Bank, which allowed the Community Action Council to help an unemployed mother and son who were behind in rent and energy payments and had no food. Our support enables community groups to work tirelessly to help our most vulnerable citizens.
- When the devastation in Ellicott City took place, our community rallied and raised $6,682 for the cause. These funds went to help support the flood cleanup efforts and helped business owners and residents in need.
- The $9,000 we raised at Federation Live for the JCC in Krakow has enabled the community to hold programing for Jewish holidays and fund weekly Shabbat dinners and services for all ages. Our donations are strengthening global peoplehood and revitalizing the Jewish community in Krakow.
Choose to be vocal about why you volunteer and why you give. Tell your friends and family what we do and encourage others to become more involved. We are continuing with our goal to close our 2017 Annual Campaign pledge activity by December 2016. I choose to help build a better future for Jews everywhere by leveraging the power of the Federation system. Choose to join me and make your 2017 Campaign pledge today.