Each year I devote at least one column to the work of Federation and the importance of supporting our central Jewish philanthropy. I have always tried to time it to promote Super Sunday, which has been mid-winter for most of my tenure in the DC area. Lo and behold, Super Sunday came and went in December and I missed the chance to encourage you to be a participant in both solicitation and contribution.
Fortunately, Federation is open for business all year ‘round, and the reason should be obvious – the needs of our community and Jewish people around the world exist all year ‘round. There may be a prime season for fund raising, but there is no time constraint on need. Jewish education, social justice, care giving and relief efforts are continuing obligations. So is the necessity to look beyond the four walls of our synagogue and reach into the broader Jewish community and the general community as well.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has undergone many changes over these past few years. There have been changes in name, in leadership and in allocation priorities. However, its basic mission remains unaltered – to give voice to the values inherent in Jewish giving and Jewish living.
You have the opportunity to be an influence on the direction Federation takes. Often, I hear disdainful comments about how, in Federation, you have to pay to play. Frankly, I don’t understand the disdain; the comment is true. If you don’t contribute, you cannot expect to direct the contributions of others. The implication that you must be a big contributor to participate in Federation is completely wrong. Federation is among the more democratic institutions in Jewish life, and the community of workers that constitutes Federation has a place for you: to provide the fuel that powers Jewish life and to afford others the privilege to do the same.
So I’m too late to promote Super Sunday – sue me. But it’s not too late to promote the good works of Federation. And it’s not to late for you to add your voice and your pledge to thousands of Jews (and non-Jews) in our community who have done the same.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, 6101 Montrose Ave., Rockville, MD 20852.