Let’s think for a moment about naches, the Yiddish word for pride or gratification (in the best sense of the word), as we celebrate the achievements of our Federation and our community.
Why are we here?
Our local Jewish Federation was created in response to the suffering of Jewish people and the needs of our community organizations, out of the desire to work together to build a better future.
Every time we complete a project, fulfill a need, make a difference, I think about the naches that previous generations would feel in seeing the impact of their foresight and preparation. Today, we are continuing to build the structure for future leaders and future generations to meet needs that we cannot imagine right now.
In the late 1990s, a group of visionary women from our Federation’s Women’s Division, with the extraordinary support of local leader, educator, and philanthropist Diane Troderman created the Nefesh Fund, an endowment fund to support the needs of women and children in Western Massachusetts and in Israel. With that visionary support, our Jewish Endowment Fund has been able to support survivors of domestic abuse, fund innovative Israel education programs, support the Women inPower Fellowship, fund community events supported by Women’s Philanthropy and PJ Library, and so much more.
When local philanthropist Harold Grinspoon created the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and began to pilot programs like PJ Library and Life & Legacy, our Federation was proud to be the first partner in implementing and testing these new programs, which have resulted in incredible impact around the world.
There are so many examples of innovation and forward-thinking projects and programs from our Federation’s history and present, including the creation of our Jewish Endowment Foundation in the 1970s, every time someone makes a legacy commitment through our Create a Jewish Legacy program, and Ruth Weiss’ creation of the Generation to Generation program for perpetual Annual Campaign giving.
Over the past two years, we have also been at the forefront of some incredible community events, with impactful programs developed by our Federation leadership. One of my favorite examples is Lara Curtis’ creation of the Women’s Philanthropy Virtual Coffee Hour series which brought women together and celebrated local voices at a time when we all needed to be together and could not gather in person. Our Federation brought this community events like the Hanukkah Festival of (Laser) Light, the Community Tu Bishvat Celebration, an entire year of virtual holiday programming, and most importantly the opportunity to celebrate and work together with amazing partners like Beit Ahavah, Congregation Ahavas Achim, Congregation B’nai Israel, Congregation B’nai Torah, Congregation Sons of Zion, Mak’hela, New England Jewish Academy, Jewish Community of Amherst, Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, Temple Beth El, Temple Israel Greenfield, Sinai Temple, Springfield Jewish Community Center, UMass Hillel, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Federations of North America, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee,, Jewish Agency for Israel, and World ORT.
This Shabbat, please join with me in this feeling of naches in our community and our Federation, and as always, reach out at any time.
All my best,