4/1/22: Shabbat Shalom From Interim Executive Director Nora Gorenstein

Meet new JFWM Accounting Associate Totiana Garcia!

Dear Friend,

This week, we are proud to introduce the newest member of our team of professionals at the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts: Accounting Associate Totiana Garcia, who introduces herself in the video above. We hope you will take a moment to stop by and say hello to the team supporting our daily operations; and of course, please reach out at any time!

I had the privilege of spending a full day this Wednesday with Jewish Federation executives from our Southern New England Consortium, our partners in supporting Afula-Gilboa in Israel through the Partnership2Gether program of the Jewish Agency for Israel. This gathering was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate and reconnect with our neighboring Federation communities and explore how we might expand our work together.

We are grateful for the work of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), our network of Federation communities across the U.S. and Canada; and the power of our collective in addressing the crisis in Ukraine, advocacy for nonprofit security funding, core funding for our global partners in Israel and overseas, and so much more. We are stronger together, and that is why we were built for this.

It is my honor to share the following updates from JFNA:

A new string of horrific terror attacks has taken place in Israel, with eleven Israelis murdered just since last week. Members of Jewish Federations of North America's National Young Leadership Cabinet, who are in Israel on a mission, sat shiva with the families of terror victims Avishai Yehezkel and Ya’akov Shalom and presented them with checks from the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund For Victims Of Terror. For a video of their visit, click here.

This week, President Biden released his Proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Budget. Jewish Federations are pleased to see a number of key Federation priorities reflected in the proposal (for a full analysis, click here), particularly the $360 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which is double the FY 2022 request. We are grateful to President Biden and to DHS Secretary Mayorkas for this proposed increase. JFNA and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies held a webinar last week to discuss the health, mental health, aging, nutrition, and housing priorities included in the spending bill. Click here to view the recording.

Also this week, following a vigorous campaign by Jewish Federations, the Senate finally confirmed Dr. Deborah Lipstadt as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.
Our relief efforts at the borders of Ukraine continue unabated. Federation leaders have been meeting with refugees at the Ukrainian border with Poland, learning the needs on the ground and helping to mobilize our community response. You can read more about these missions here and a reflection from Mark Wilf and Eric Fingerhut here.

The very first contingent of Russian-speaking Jewish professionals from North America arrived this week to provide translation services and humanitarian assistance. To volunteer for this program (please note that only those who speak Russian and/or Ukrainian are being selected at this time), click here.

Please don’t miss our half-hour Monday and Thursday webinars. Yesterday’s program featured Yotam Polizer, the CEO of IsraAID, and focused on humanitarian relief in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. For a recording of yesterday’s webinar, click here. To register for the whole series at once, click here. Webinars continue at 4:30 pm ET every Monday and Thursday.

With gratitude,
Shabbat shalom,

Nora Gorenstein
Interim Executive Director