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Meet Brad Helfman, our Campaigner of the Week!

Q - Why is it important to be a Campaigner?

For more than 30 years, I’ve been invested with the Federation. While there are many opportunities to donate one’s time to better the Jewish community, serving as a Campaigner is important and rewarding, since the dollars raised provide services to those in our community and throughout the world who need it most. In many cases Campaigners are the bridge to allowing those in the community the opportunity to donate.

Q - Why should the community become involved with the Federation?

Our Jewish Federation builds a sense of community, shared vision and common purpose that helps make Cleveland and our Jewish community more vibrant for all of us. With young and dynamic leaders building upon successes of the past leaders, our future looks bright. What better way to appreciate that sense of community than by getting involved!

Q - How do you spend your free time?

My free time is spent playing, coaching, and officiating ice hockey games for boys, girls, and adults. I also enjoy spending time exploring the City of Cleveland. The rest (and best part of) my free time is spent with my wife, Jill, and with our three children who are currently in Denver, Ann Arbor, and West Lafayette.

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Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.

By Alyssa Schmitt

Jeff Wild, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 2019 Campaign for Jewish Needs chair, tells the audience what this year’s theme, “The Impact of Together,” means to him. CJN photos / Alyssa Schmitt

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland will announce the total amount raised in the 2019 Campaign for Jewish Needs Dec. 12 at Beatrice J. Stone Yavne High School in Beachwood during the annual Campaign Closing Celebration.

The Federation’s annual fundraising campaign serves Jewish Cleveland and the global community. Last year, the campaign raised $32,238,328 from more than 9,700 donors, in addition to a $500,000 match. This year, Jeff Wild, the campaign chair, said the campaign is ahead of last year’s pace with a donor count of 6,000 and on pace of the amount raised with more than $26 million. The goal is to have 10,000 donors by the close.

“We’re ahead of last year’s pace in terms of donor count and we’re well ahead of last year’s pace in terms of new donors, which is very exciting,” he said. “Whether we get to the 10,000 donor number really depends on what happens in the next two weeks but we feel it’s very attainable. With that being said, we have to stress there’s a lot of work we have to do in the next two weeks. We have people that are working day and night on reaching out to donors and our volunteer work force has been absolutely incredible.”

The closing event will feature music and food from Cleveland, Israel and Russia. Attendees will also hear reflections on this year’s theme, “The Impact of Together,” from outgoing Federation President Stephen H. Hoffman.

In the aftermath of the shooting that killed 11 people at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, which took place during the campaign, Wild said there was a re-evaluation of the funds allocated to securing the synagogues, day schools, agencies and the Jewish community. The Federation spends $1.2 million on security and it’s expected to increase, thus the campaign needs to raise more money than originally planned.

“We’ve made the decision just in the last week that we have to increase our security expense by $2 million a year (to $3.2 million),” he said. “We didn’t know that going into this campaign. So we are focused, in the last couple of weeks, on making sure people understand the security needs in our community while important a number of weeks ago are critically important today.”

The campaign also changed its donation approach by using the Federation’s online platforms, which Wild credits for the increase in new donors.

“When we talk about this being a communal campaign, we need to make sure we reach as many people in the community as possible,” he said. “We changed our approach, not just on Super Sunday, but throughout our campaign. We’re utilizing technology effectively through our online platforms. Because of that and the changes that we’ve implemented, our new donor count is much farther ahead than we were last year.”

Also, Natan D. Milgrom will receive the 2018 Amb. Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Young Campaigner of the Year Award. The award recognizes leadership, dedication and hard work by a young leader on behalf of the Campaign for Jewish Needs.

Campaign Closing Celebration

WHEN: 7 p.m. Dec. 12

WHERE: Beatrice J. Stone Yavne High School, 2475 S. Green Road, Beachwood

INFO: Registration $15 per person. To register, visit jewishcleveland.org, email campaign@jcfcleve.org or call 216-593-2900 x740

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    Blogs from the 2018-2019 Saltzman Youth Panel

    Danny Ecker, a member of the 2018-19 Saltzman Youth Panel cohort, shares a reflection from their recent session:

    The Saltzman Youth Panel 2018-2019 is off to an amazing start! We are already on pace to have a great year and make a huge impact in our Jewish Community.

    In our first meeting we had the chance to not only learn about each other, but also about the exciting challenges and decisions we will encounter together this year. I was surprised by the size and diversity of the group of Panelists I met at the first session. The fact that we have such a large group is great because the more opinions and perspectives we have the better outcome we will get. In addition, I got to meet other Jewish high school students from around the community.

    During the first session we talked about our values and how they relate to philanthropy. I especially enjoyed our first activity: we each had the chance to think about and share our thoughts around the question “If I had one million dollars where would I donate it?” I thought it was very interesting how many different answers people gave to this question. We all have generally the same Jewish values, but we all have different ideas of causes we want to support. This is really great for our panel because we will bring many different ideas to each meeting. These differences are very important because it will allow us to pick the best organizations to give money to. My takeaway from this experience was that even if everyone has the same values or religion, we can still have drastically different opinions on different topics.

    Following our first session we all had the opportunity to participate in Super Sunday – the largest an annual community fundraising event held by the Federation to support the Campaign for Jewish Needs. Going to Super Sunday really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I had never called individuals I didn’t know to ask them to donate. It was a very eye opening and important experience because you grow the most when you are pushed out of your comfort zone. It's also very hard to ask people to donate money to a cause. We all had to be very enthusiastic when talking to get them to actually donate which isn't easy. Overall it was a great experience.

    I am very excited to be participating in such a positive program for our community and can’t wait to continue this journey during the rest of the year.

    Danny Ecker (second from left) with fellow Saltzman Youth Panelists.

    Danny Ecker is a junior at Hawken School. He is a member of Park Synagogue and an Israel.Cleveland.Next (icnext) participant. Danny is the captain of his high school soccer team and a member of Hawken's Student-Teacher Senate.

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    Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.

    By Alyssa Schmitt

    Erika B. Rudin-Luria, incoming president of Jewish-Federation of Cleveland, is greeted by Brad Orsini, director of Jewish community security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

    When nearly 100 leaders from Jewish federations and community centers entered Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, they noticed sights familiar to most any synagogue, like pictures of synagogue leadership lining the hallways and pews and prayer books ready for service. Similarities ended, however, when they looked across the aisles and saw evidence of the Oct. 27 massacre that claimed 11 lives in the congregation.

    The pews, carpet and flooring were absent. An exit sign that had been shattered was boarded up and bullet holes were scattered around the siddurim, the reading table and near the ark, said Erika B. Rudin-Luria, incoming president of Jewish Federation of Cleveland, who was part of the first community group to enter the building since the shooting.

    “You saw that things had been taken apart, that they’re very much still in the immediate aftermath,” Rudin-Luria said. “Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the congregation spoke to us and he said, ‘Hate will not chase me out of my house, out of God’s house.’ And he explained that their holy space has been defiled.”

    The Nov. 13 visit to the congregation, which was followed by a memorial, was part of a solidarity trip for Jewish leaders to show support to the community of Squirrel Hill, a Pittsburgh neighborhood, and to learn of the ongoing trauma support and information gathered following the deadly shooting.

    After the memorial and touring the community by school bus, the group heard from representatives of the FBI and leaders from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Family and Children Services and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh at the center. Joining Rudin-Luria were Michael Hyman, president and CEO of the Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland; Scott Spiegle, vice chair of Mandel JCC’s board of trustees; and Dan Zelman, treasurer of the Federation’s board of trustees.

    During the visit, various organizations explained how the quick response that followed the shooting was made possible by the partnerships its federation had created and supported prior to the incident, the preparedness of its JCC to house services and the services JFCS was ready to offer.

    “There was a lot of emphasis on the importance of having strong working relationships, strong social service agencies within the Jewish community,” Rudin-Luria said. “Because those organizations existed the day before and knew how to respond to each other’s needs the day before, they were all able to jump into action when the trauma occurred.”

    Also highlighted was the need to have strong, close connections with those outside of the Jewish community, like law enforcement. Many who survived the shooting credited the training they received a month before, Rudin-Luria added.

    In the wake of the incident, Pittsburgh’s JCC became the location where families gathered while waiting to hear what happened to their relatives in the building, Hyman said. It also housed services, like counseling, from other agencies. The building also became the community response center for services.

    “The physical proximity (of the JCC) made it the only location that could house that kind of emergency response operation,” he said.

    Zelman said communities need to be ready to house large crowds in an easily accessible building, which he likened to Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights.

    The FBI featured its Victim Services Division, which is responsible for ensuring victims of crimes investigated by the FBI are able to receive services.

    “A lot of people wouldn’t know about the FBI, not that they wouldn’t come in if they heard something, but to let you know what resources are out there to deal with this type of thing,” Zelman said.

    He added he was shocked to learn from the FBI there were two false reports of a bomb threat and one false report of another active shooter all in Pittsburgh immediately following the shooting.

    Since the group returned to Cleveland, each spoke of the strength they saw in Pittsburgh and the community coming together. Now, it’s prepared to emphasize the importance of continuing relationships in and outside the Jewish community, supporting those organizations and strengthening community security to continue the vibrancy of Jewish life.

    “It just takes something that is incomprehensible for us to understand, for one person to lash out with hatred to do something that can change and disrupt the lives of so many people forever,” Hyman said. “This will be something that’s always etched into the memory of the community and it will never go away.”

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    We hope you'll join us at some of our upcoming Federation events this month. There's something for everyone! To learn more or register, simply click on the link corresponding to the event you're interested in attending.

    WHEN:
    December 10
    5:30 – 8:30 pm

    December 11
    5:30 – 8:30 pm

    WHERE:
    Jewish Federation of Cleveland
    Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building
    25701 Science Park Drive 
    Cleveland, OH 44122

    WHO:
    All community members are invited to attend.

    ABOUT THE EVENT:
    Join fellow Jewish Clevelanders to make an impact at Impact Hours! Just one hour of your time can help change and improve lives in Cleveland, Israel, and around the world.

    REGISTER NOW >>

    WHEN:
    December 12
    7:00 pm

    WHERE:
    Beatrice J. Stone Yavne High School
    2475 S. Green Road
    Cleveland, OH 44122

    WHO:
    All community members are invited to attend.

    COST:
    $15/person (not tax-deductible)

    ABOUT THE EVENT:

    • Participate in the BIG reveal to hear our 2019 Campaign total from General Campaign Chair, Jeffrey J. Wild.
    • Recognize Natan D. Milgrom, recipient of the 2018 Amb. Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Young Campaigner of the year Award.
    • Hear reflections on the Impact of Together from outgoing President Stephen H. Hoffman.
    • Celebrate the impact we made together during this year's Campaign with great music and food from Cleveland, Israel, and Russia.

    REGISTER NOW >>

    WHEN:
    December 26 – 28
    11:30 am – 2:30 pm

    WHERE:
    Four Locations in Cleveland

    WHO:
    All community members are invited to volunteer. Children ages 8 and over are welcome to attend with their parents.

    ABOUT THE EVENT:
    Volunteers are needed for the Winter Break Lunch Program to serve hot, nutritious lunches, play games, create crafts and distribute holiday gifts to children in Cleveland's most vulnerable areas.

    REGISTER NOW >>

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    Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.

    The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation approved a grant of $500,000 to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland to enhance security in the Jewish community on Dec. 3 after a gunman shot and killed 11 people at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, the foundation said in a news release.

    “We applaud the Jewish Federation of Cleveland for being in the forefront of safety and security efforts both locally and nationally and for taking action to intensify its program as a result of the current anti-Semitism,” said Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation President Mitchell Balk in the release.

    The Federation’s plan, which was developed with local and national security experts, will provide enhanced protection for 37 synagogues, nine day school sites and nine Jewish-sponsored preschools.

    “In the face of the growing threat from anti-Semitism and in light of the attack in Pittsburgh, the need for increased security throughout Jewish Cleveland is no longer an option,” said Stephen H. Hoffman, president of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, in the release. “We are grateful for this significant investment and leadership by the Mt. Sinai Foundation, which will help our community members live as Jewishly as they wish in a safe and welcoming environment. We believe the Mt. Sinai commitment will encourage other generous donors to step forward in our effort to raise the $2 million per year that is required to implement the enhanced security program.”

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    There’s still time to help the Jewish Cleveland community – and perhaps yourself, too – in 2018!

    GIFTS OF APPRECIATED SECURITIES:

    • Transfer stock to the Federation from your brokerage account
    • Apply your donation to pay a campaign pledge, add to a donor advised fund, or create a new one
    • Generate an immediate tax deduction
    • Avoid capital gains taxes
    To contribute appreciated securities, contact Kari Blumenthal at kblumenthal@jcfcleve.org or 215-593-2893 for information. All inquiries are confidential.

    IRA CHARITABLE ROLLOVER:

    • Satisfies your annual required minimum distribution, or RMD, up to $100,000
    • Allows you to give from pre-tax assets and your distribution is exluded from taxable income
    • It's easy just notify your IRA custodian

    DONOR ADVISED FUNDS:

    • Donate cash, securities, or other property to the Federation to establish a donor advised fund
    • The Federation invests the fund's assets and processes grant recommendations to qualified charities 
    • "Bundle" your giving for maximum tax savings
    • The fund you establish is at your fingertips with our online portal
    • Minimum fee waived for donors under age 45

    CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITIES:

    • Increase lifetime income
    • Receive partially tax-free payments
    • Bypass some capital gains on gifts of appreciated assets, such as stock
    • Receive a substantial income tax deduction
    • Gift annuity payments are based on the age of the annuitants – the older you are, the higher the rate and the more you will receive

    Have you included the Federation in your estate plan? If so, please let us know so we can thank you and make sure we know your wishes. If you haven't, contact us to start the conversation. We can help you Create Your Jewish Legacy.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

    Please contact Carol F. Wolf at 216-593-2805 or cwolf@jcfcleve.org. All inquiries are confidential.

    Thank you for your support at year-end and throughout the year.

    This material is presented for informative purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. When considering gift planning strategies and year-end gift opportunities, you should always consult with your own legal, tax, or financial advisors.

    The Jewish Federation of Cleveland (license # CH22328) is registered to solicit charitable donations within Florida and provides disclosure as required by Chapter 496 of the Florida Solicitation of Contributions Act as follows:

    “A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR BY VISITING WWW.800HELPFLA.COM. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.”

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