This year is a very important year to support the UJA-Federation campaign. Most of the reasons are usual and laudatory. But the special reasons this year are urgent and head-shaking tragic.
Of course you know that the agencies which depend on UJAF for much of their funding provide necessary services for us and our community. The expansion of services by Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA), the Jewish Community Council and UJAF itself in Northern Virginia meet our particular needs in Northern Virginia and integrate us with the metropolitan area’s Jewish populations. We are also the beneficiaries of Jewish Chaplaincy Services, the Jewish Council for the Aging and the Board of Jewish Education.
Each of these agencies has a direct impact on your life at some point or another. While you may not need the support offered by JSSA nor the comfort offered by the community chaplains, someone you know has already been helped through a rough piece of road by a compassionate caregiver. The Jewish Community Council has been active in local and state government and civic relations, keeping school boards, county supervisors and city council members aware of our calendar and our issues, and mediating matters of conflict or concern. All the other agencies -- even those without a specific presence in Northern Virginia -- are part of our larger lives as well.
Two local institutions, our JCC and Gesher Jewish Day School, enjoy significant support from UJAF. And area synagogues, including our own, benefit directly from programs like Israel Quest and Jewish Family Grants.
Every dollar you give allows us to strengthen the partnerships within our diverse community.
But those special reasons should encourage you to be even more generous.
Recent legislation in local and federal legislatures have placed a greater burden on the private sector to provide for the needs of the disadvantaged in our society. Agencies funded by UJAF, except those with obvious parochial agendas, serve the general population throughout the metro area. Demands for job counseling, transportation, family therapy, short-term assistance and even preventative health care are addressed for an increasingly wider population. We must enable our agencies to do their utmost so that nobody falls for want of a missing safety net.
And then there is Israel. A significant portion of UJAF monies goes to Israel, as is proper. These are troubled times for non-orthodox religious Jews in Israel. Unable to rely on even limited support from the current coalition in Knesset, the funds available through the Jewish Agency, provided by Federation campaigns the world over, are a major life line. Our ability to promote religious pluralism in Israel depends not only on our contributions to Masorti (Conservative) congregations and the Bet Midrash (JTS) in Israel, but on our dollars, which are our voices, raised for allocation.
Sunday, February 2 is Super Sunday. Volunteer to solicit, and be generous when you are called.