his is my third and final letter as Chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and my first serving as Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America. I am truly grateful and humbled for the opportunity granted to me by this remarkable community. I have been privileged to stand on the shoulders of those outstanding leaders who have come before me and have come to fully appreciate the incredible partnership created between the lay community and our dedicated and committed professionals – not only at the Federation led by the incomparable Steve Hoffman, but also at our many agencies and synagogues. It has been an honor working side by side with Steve and I am confident it will be equally rewarding for our next chair, Reneé Chelm. The state of our community is better today than when I entered this position, although great challenges still remain. We were in a deep recession and the community was torn by the issue of the move to our new building. Harley Gross, my predecessor, deserves continued accolades for marshaling this difficult issue and we all give thanks to the Mandel Family for their generous financial and moral support. Our new facility is a guiding light and gathering place as we move forward. More people, more meetings and more spirit exist in this symbol of our community. The undertaking of both a population study and a day school study have enabled us to better plan for our future. Our community is larger, more spread out, and in greater need of service than originally thought. The cost of living Jewishly continues to be a barrier – both financially and as a way of life for the younger generations. The
concept of collective responsibility is challenged in its relevancy. These issues and more will be the focus of our discussions. I am confident that we are capable of finding the answers. We know immersive programs like Birthright Israel and MASA, days schools and Jewish camping help create a more solid connection to the Jewish community. We remain steadfast in our support for Israel. Our overseas agenda is vibrant and exciting. Our sister cities, St. Petersburg, Russia and Beit Shean, Israel, continue to connect the principles of Clal Yisrael to our next generation. Our desire to make our home a better place to live is evidenced by program support for the Global Cleveland Initiative, our PEI tutoring program for Cleveland Municipal School District students, Hillel, PresenTense, JCLE and more. We are about trust. We are about chesed, the acts of kindness. We are about commitment to each other, one Jew responsible for the other. I believe we live today in a biblical narrative. The recreation of a Jewish nation, the ingathering of diverse peoples, the saving of lives of Jews wherever they exist – Tunisia, Yemen, the former Soviet Union and next door. Never have we been able to change the world as we do now. We do this only with collective responsibility. And that is best done through the Federation system. As I move to my new responsibilities, I know the Cleveland Jewish community will always have my back. There is no better feeling. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve.
Stephen H. Hoffman
President, Jewish Federation of Cleveland
he strength of Cleveland’s Jewish community is extraordinary, but it’s not a surprise. Because of the trust our donors and partners put in us, Cleveland stands as a leader in both innovation and service delivery. For more than a century, we have been raising funds, and our voices, to meet the ongoing needs of the global community, achieving an unparalleled record of success. While it’s the power of the collective that makes everything we do possible, a great deal of our success is determined by the incredible talent our lay partners bring to the table. With Michael at the helm, leading an excellent team of officers, the Federation became even more transparent, more business-like and displayed a great deal of heart. On top of orchestrating two successful annual Campaigns, led by Gary Gross and David Heller, this past year we prevented proposed government cuts to vital food programs and helped defeat anti-Israel resolutions. We also were among the first communities to send desperately needed funds to Israel in the latest round of Hamas rocket attacks. As you’ll read, the magnitude of possibilities in shaping our future remain limitless when we join together as one. Thank you for being a part of this incredible winning team!
Published on Apr 22, 2013
Published on Apr 22, 2013
2012 Annual Report of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland reviews the past year of programs and services funded through our Annual Campaign.