How do we determine what our community needs to do?
Some of the influence comes from sober reflection on needs. Some of it is the “squeaky wheel” syndrome. Some of it is what we have undertaken already. And some of it – maybe more than we’d like to admit – is a function of what our financial resources are.
You know all about this communal dilemma from your personal life. We are all people of conscience, moderated by a diversity of values. Each of us has some pet cause in our lives, perhaps motivated by personal experience. There are any number of “right things to do.” And, when it comes down to it, we each have limited resources to devote to meeting needs, from housing to recreation to charitable giving.
Maybe the most sacred task in the Jewish community is determining the way we will respond to needs. Lots of organizations presume to take on specific sets of needs, but only one makes the honest effort to be comprehensive in that consideration: the Jewish Federation. There is no shortage of petitioners for the legitimate needs of community: education, hunger relief, social services, Israel, community relations, cultural expression, unemployment, medical research and more. Sober reflection can be overwhelming; wheels can squeak pretty loudly; a legacy of engagement precedes deliberation. But more than anything else, Federation cannot spend more than it collects.
Pretty soon – on or about December 12 – some will likely call you and ask for a commitment to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Please respond positively and with generosity. The deliberations within the community ought rightly leave no one neglected, but without sufficient resources, they must.
You can, however, make more of a contribution than money. A few hours of your time that Sunday, spent at the phone banks at our JCC or one of the other two in the Metro area, can help Federation reach out to more members of our community. You can register at this site:
(As a reward, popular composer of Jewish music Rick Recht will perform at 3:00 p.m. in Rockville and 8:00 p.m. in DC. Northern Virginians are encouraged to download his music onto their iPods.)
But just like Judaism in general, one special day is not the totality of opportunity. Those difficult deliberations require people who are concerned and involved. You can be one of those people. All it takes a willingness and a little bit of time.
Thanks for making it happen.