10/1/21: A Special Shabbat Message From Nora Gorenstein — Interim Executive Director, JFWM

Dear Friend,

We are in the beginning of the Jewish year, the Torah cycle, the month of October, and the next chapter of our lives. Today, we celebrate the new beginnings, the next steps, and finding the path forward. 

Last year, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts distributed almost $1.8 million to the local community through donor advised funds, restricted and unrestricted funds, and directed giving, including $200,000 in local allocations from the 2019 Annual Campaign and $525,000 distributed through the Healthy Community Emergency Fund and the Healthy Community Emergency Food Fund.

This year, our Federation’s Annual Campaign has already raised 2.5 times the amount raised by this time last year. We are building momentum and on track to significantly increase our support for Jewish life in Western Massachusetts.

During the pandemic our Rachel’s Table program has delivered between 70,000 and 140,000 pounds of food per month to 53 agencies in our region, with more than 200 volunteers. Can you imagine moving a total of 3,000 pounds of lasagna in one day alone? This is a monumental effort to meet an unimaginable need.

Since 2006, PJ Library Western Massachusetts has supported and educated more than 1,700 families with young children in Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin counties, with the support of more than 20 local Jewish organizations. This month alone, more than 700 children in our community received free Jewish children’s books enabling them and their families to connect deeply and meaningfully with Jewish life at home.

We are not returning to normal. We are rebuilding NOT in the image of what came before, but with a structure that fits the needs of our growing, changing Jewish community in 2021 and for decades to come. We recognize the 95 years of history of the Federation in our community, and the great strides made by the generations before us and the leaders we are fortunate to still have involved in our community.

We envision our potential to be good listeners, mindful leaders, giving a voice and a hand to those in need, but we do not stop at creating this vision. We take action, plan and enact, and change to meet the changing needs while staying true to our values and our mission.

Your voice matters. Your actions matter. Take a stand together with the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts and make your voice heard.

Locally, you can be a part of the change by sharing your thoughts, getting involved, and pledging to support our work.

Globally, you can register to attend The General Assembly 2021 on October 3, 2021, 2pm ET, and be a part of the Jewish Federations of North America reflecting and addressing our communal agenda.

As always, I am here to listen; please reach out at any time.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nora Gorenstein
Interim Executive Director