Shep Englander — Federation Journal
From the Desk of the CEO: Making an Impact
This monthly report from CEO Shep Englander features topics of interest to the Cincinnati Jewish community and the work of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
This month I am highlighting younger community leaders—especially those making an impact through the important education and advocacy work of our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).
Inspirational and forward-thinking. JCRC board member Dan Rapp recently returned from a mission to Israel with the umbrella group of our JCRC—Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). He was one of 13 young JCRC leaders nationwide selected for a prestigious mentoring program.
“I take great pride in advocating on behalf of Israel. I believe that Israel is our home, our history, and our safe haven. It’s a cause worth defending with everything we’ve got.” –Dan Rapp
Take a few minutes to read Dan’s takeaways from this program about immigration, religious pluralism, the Iran nuclear deal, prospects for peace, and more.
Beyond 2020—Now What?! Over the course of a year, we held small parlor talks and one large event during an initiative called Beyond 2020 to ask Jewish young adults how they want to connect as a community. There was a strong consensus among the more than 300 participants. And this month, YAD board member Ariella Cohen announced their plans to engage young adults:
- Website: A one-stop information hub that connects young adults
- Welcoming Ambassadors: Young adults who will greet newcomers to Cincinnati
- Meet-Ups: Grassroots get-togethers created by and for young people
- Social Event: A large-scale social gathering for all young adults in the community
Stepping Up. This week we welcomed JCRC Director Jackie Congedo back to the Federation after her maternity leave. Not only is Jackie a bright, passionate young Jewish community professional, Associate Director Justin Kirschner also deserves recognition. While Jackie was out, Justin pushed forward the JCRC’s mission—meeting with elected leaders on immigration issues, organizing a city-wide Coalition Against Hate, and helping facilitate an Ohio House mission to Israel with Rep. Brigid Kelly.
Engaging our young, caring for our old. While we put in place ways to engage our young people, we are finding new ways to care for the aging adults in our community in a fast-changing environment through Jewish Family Service (JFS), which receives the largest allocation from our campaign dollars for aging services.
JFS was recently awarded a grant from our national umbrella organization Jewish Federations of North American (JFNA). JFS will use the $66,667 in funds to teach Russian- and English-speaking Holocaust survivors how to use tablet-based programs to stay in touch with family.
On her second day on the job, I sat down with Jewish Family Service CEO Liz Vogel to learn more about her and hear her vision for the future of the organization.
Leading the Way. The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the organization which was instrumental in founding the State of Israel and continues to serve as the main link between Israel and Jewish communities everywhere, included our Cincy Fellow program in their most recent update to their Board of Governors, of which I am a member. The Cincy Fellow program is the first of its kind to send an emissary to Israel for a year (rather than vice versa) to teach Israelis about American Judaism.
See that feature—and read about other high-profile initiatives in the update.
Our Community Campaign—A Shared Treasure. Our campaign started in October, and the Federation’s goal, with the help of almost 80 volunteers, is to raise $5.6 million this year. Thanks to our campaign cochairs, many other volunteers, and your generous gifts, we have already raised almost $4.3 million. Our ideal deadline for the rest is Super Sunday, March 11, and our drop-dead deadline is May 31.
Thank you to Gary Greenberg and Debbie Brant, our Annual Campaign cochairs, Chrissie and Josh Blatt, our Major Gifts cochairs, and Ronna Schneider, our Community Campaign chair, who shared—
“Through six years of work in national programs, I have a good understanding of the Jews in need around the world; however I feel like this is my time to be passionate about our local community and to help raise as much money as possible for our local Jewish community.”
The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati: We look at the whole picture, taking into account the diverse needs of the entire community. Together we can do almost anything.