Shabbat Shalom from CEO Nora Gorenstein

Dear Friend,

As we prepare for the whirlwind of Passover, beginning this coming Wednesday night, please take a moment to check out our community calendar and the many opportunities to get together this Passover and later this month. Of particular note are our special community-wide events for Yom Hashoah (April 18) and Yom Haatzmaut (April 25). Visit our website to see more about these and other events!

It is my pleasure to share with all of you a very special announcement; when you call our office (413-737-4313) you will usually be answered by Ellie Sesko, who joined our staff just over a year ago as the Office Administrator. Please join me in wishing Ellie a hearty MAZEL TOV on her promotion to Operations Officer! With Ellie’s help, we have navigated the challenges of our temporary office relocation and made significant changes to improve our daily operations. Questions about anything? You can reach Ellie by phone or email, and she will either know the answer or help you find the right resource!

You may have seen the national or local coverage about Stand Up To Jewish Hatea new campaign that we have joined to educate all Americans about the rise of antisemitism and mobilize people outside the Jewish community to help us address growing hate and intolerance. We are asking everyone to post and share #


 on social media, using the blue square emoji on your phone, as a simple but powerful unifying symbol of solidarity. 

Here are a few actions you can take to #StandUptoJewishHate and join this national movement:

  • Post and share # – an emoji already available on most mobile devices – on your social media channels, email signatures, and text messages, alongside a message of support against hate and intolerance. Check out this simple guide for how to post the blue square
  • Speak up and share your personal story with antisemitism
  • Follow the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign on InstagramFacebook, and TikTok to keep up-to-date with 🟦and learn more about antisemitism.
  • Visit to subscribe to the Foundation’s “From the Command Center” e-newsletter to learn more about how antisemitism is spreading online, learn ways to identify and report it, and find helpful tools and resources around antisemitism
  • Support the fight against antisemitism by proactively making a contribution to local community security.

With great appreciation for our national and international network of Jewish organizations, please see below for additional updates from Jewish Federations of North America:

This was a momentous week in the history of Israel. On Monday, in the face of massive protests and job walk-offs that paralyzed the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a month-long pause in his government’s campaign to legislate a sweeping reform of the country’s judicial system. Negotiations began almost immediately under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog, even as President Joe Biden made it clear to Netanyahu that the strength of the US-Israel alliance depends on both countries having vibrant and stable democracies. Along with other major Jewish organizations, Jewish Federations publicly hailed the prime minister’s decision to make room for debate and compromise.

Jewish Federations will hold a webinar on Monday, April 3 at 12:30 pm ET on the prime minister’s decision to pause the legislative process, the status of the negotiations, and how the volatile political situation is playing out across various sectors of Israeli society. Yaakov Katz, editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, will be in dialogue with Julie Platt and Eric Fingerhut. Register here.

Jewish Federations also sponsored a webinar yesterday on our iRep Initiative’s response to concerns that the Israeli government’s policies may affect sensitive issues around religious diversity in the Jewish State. Click here for a recording.

Jewish Federations have joined the steering group of the newly-formed Jewish Committee to Support ‘Woman Life Freedom’ in Iran (JCWLF), a group aiming to help promote the Iranian people’s aspirations alongside members of the Iranian diaspora. Read more at eJewishPhilanthropy here.

More than 100 lawmakers called this week for an increase in FY24 to $10 million in funding to the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, which is currently funded at the level of $8.5 million a year. The program helps Holocaust survivors and other older adults with a history of trauma, as well as their family caregivers. The program is run in cooperation with Jewish Federations.

I hope that you and those you care about have all that you need, this Shabbat, this Passover, and this year; if you are in need of support or would like to learn more about resources available in our local community, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or to our Donor Impact Officer Bobby Naimark!

Shabbat shalom,

Nora Gorenstein
Chief Executive Officer