Dear Fellow St. Paulites,
I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Shana Tova, a good and healthy and fully vaccinated year. I hope the beginning of this new year has been filled with blessings. God-willing, we will be sealed in the Book of Life for yet another year.
In September 1986, shortly after Phyllis and I came to St. Paul to lead Beth Jacob Congregation forward, I received a call from Rabbi Leigh Lerner, then the senior rabbi at Mount Zion. He asked if he could visit with me. Thinking it was about providing hizuk (strength) to a young colleague about to lead his first High Holiday services in a new congregation, I readily said yes. He did provide hizuk, but he also let me know what it meant to be a part of the St. Paul Jewish community. He was there to solicit my first gift for the Federation. I share that memory with you because I am writing to you to continue this tradition.
Over the past 35 years, Phyllis and I have been supporters of federated giving. We believe deeply in the St. Paul Jewish community and its communal agencies and organizations. There have been many times when I have had to address serious concerns regarding priorities and funding numbers, but there has never been a time when support for a shared responsibility for sustaining this community has been in doubt. That’s why I am asking you to step up and support THIS YEAR’S campaign. I am doing so because the Federation has already committed to our communal agencies their requested budget allocations for the coming year, and it is incumbent upon each of us who believe in their important work to contribute to this community effort.
I am well aware that there is an opportunity for those who so desire to make a three-year commitment with an increase in years two and three. If you are able to do so, I know the Federation and its leadership would be appreciative. It would enable them to begin the next two campaigns with many assurances already in the bank. If you are not able to make that commitment, please consider increasing your pledge from last year by an amount that stretches a bit further than you imagined possible.
These past 18 months have been trying. All of our communal organizations have been tested. We sought solace from one another and worked hard to support each other through these difficult months. We also saw this community step forward and provide additional support through the Yad B’Yad campaign to keep our agencies and communal treasures present in our lives. Many received federal dollars through PPP funds made available by the government.
At the same time, I am well aware that while too many of us have had economic downturns during this period, many others have not been negatively impacted economically. For those in the latter group, we owe it to our communal agencies to step up and support the Federation as it seeks to ensure that the funding budgeted for the coming year is fulfilled.
There are many concerns and issues that we will need to remain ever vigilant about in the coming years as we seek to strengthen our Jewish community. This year, the Federation made its priorities clear, and Phyllis and I will be supporting them. I ask you to do the same.
Again, Shana Tova – may it be a year of blessing and of renewed hope,