A Tradition of Giving

September 4, 2014
BY J.M. Schapiro and Shelly Malis

090514_schapiro_jm_ftv 090514_malis_shelly_ftvThis summer, Jews around the world followed the fighting in Israel closely and sought every opportunity they could to help those in Israel whose daily lives were turned upside down by a constant barrage of rockets. At the same time, we watched in horror, as Jews in cities around the globe found themselves facing a resurgence of virulent anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Israel rhetoric.

From thousands of miles away, our Jewish community was able to reach out and help those suffering in Israel and those throughout the world who were persecuted for being Jewish. Our generosity fortified our global Jewish family in time of dire need.

Such is the beauty of our tradition. When one Jew is suffering, we feel compelled to jump in and help. In Baltimore, we are blessed to have The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore as the conduit of that support. For more than nine decades, The Associated has provided a trusted central address, where we can generously give our time and resources, knowing that our contributions will be thoughtfully directed to the areas of greatest need.

Throughout these years, our community has benefited from the support of a centralized Annual Campaign that funds critical services provided by Associated agencies and programs. As our grandparents and parents did before us, we live in a community that both uplifts the vulnerable and inspires our children and grandchildren. It is now our responsibility to ensure that this proud tradition continues for future generations.

As chairs of the Annual Campaign and Women’s Campaign respectively, we will spend the next several months talking to members of our community about the impact the campaign can make and why their support is so critical. This year, we want to ensure that the professionals and volunteer leaders who assess the most pressing communal needs are able to do so with all the necessary resources at their disposal.

On Sept. 14, we will gather together for The Associated’s largest single day of fundraising, Super Sunday, to call community members and invite them to help support the strength of our community. This year, Super Sunday will also mark the start of a very special 100-day Challenge, in which we hope to secure the majority of campaign contributions. A matching grant will be applied to all new and increased gifts, and this drive will last through Community Mitzvah Day on Dec. 25. The 100-day Challenge also gives us the opportunity to pivot and focus on engagement and connection with existing and new donors for the second half of the year.

Knowing what financial resources our community has in hand enables our community planners to thoughtfully look ahead for the areas of greatest need and be prepared for emergencies that might arise either here or in communities overseas.

On our personal journeys as chairs of this year’s campaign, we look back upon all those who came before us and provided the inspiration for the critical work we are compelled to do for our community. We look forward too. We look to the future generations we will inspire and the impact we will be able to make on Jewish Baltimore. Together, we have the ability to honor our community’s formidable heritage and forge a truly inspiring tomorrow. We hope you will join us on this journey.

J. M. Schapiro and Shelly Malis are the 2015 Annual Campaign and Women’s Campaign chairs, respectively, for The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. To register for Super Sunday, visit associated.org/supersunday.

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