Federation to launch campaign on upbeat note

Federation to launch campaign on upbeat note

The Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks will launch its 2012-13 annual campaign to the rhythms of the all-male a cappella singing group the Maccabeats.

The Yeshiva University-based singers will headline the Annual Campaign Kick-Off Dinner, “The Strength of a People — The Power of a Community,” federation’s biggest fund-raiser of the year.

The event is set for Sunday, Nov. 4, beginning with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m., at Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick.

Karen Anderson of Lawrenceville, federation’s campaign vice president, said she is hoping that the upbeat entertainment of the Maccabeats, will be matched by an uptick in the community’s involvement in the campaign.

“We’re trying to get a little more energy going with regard to our fund-raising effort,” Anderson said in a phone interview. “We’re starting with a really fun evening, and we’re trying to infuse more energy into the campaign.”

The kick-off dinner will signal the start of a shortened, highly focused campaign designed to run through next March, according to Anderson.

“We’re trying to do things a little differently this year,” she said. “Fund-raising is always challenging, and it’s going to continue to be challenging, but the fact of the matter is that what we do is extremely important locally and globally.

“The needs continue to grow,” she said. “It’s important to support the lives and well-being of people who need our help.”

Andrea Silverstein of Princeton, chair of federation’s Women’s Philanthropy Campaign, also welcomed the infusion of energy and spirit that the Maccabeats’ music will bring to the dinner.

“What federation is all about is cultivating Jewish identity and reinforcing Jewish pride,” said Silverstein, who is serving as cochair of the dinner along with Anderson and Rysia de Ravel of Princeton. “There’s something very uplifting about celebrating who we are, and the Maccabeats are one tangible means to that end.”

Silverstein stressed that she is optimistic about the upcoming campaign, even during what she described as “a very tough economy.”

“I think we’ve done a lot of great things to convey our message and educate people about what federation does,” she said. “We have done a tremendous amount of outreach, and we are really on our way to a much stronger campaign this year.”

That power of community is exactly what the dinner celebrates, Silverstein added.

“It brings together hundreds of people who share the vision and goals of a united Jewish community,” she said. “This year’s event will be inspirational, social, and fun.”

De Ravel, who also serves as secretary of the federation board, shares that optimism.

“I think we’re starting to pull out of the downturn,” she said. “Ever since the economic downturn, we’ve been very challenged with the campaign…but the time has come to think post-downturn.

“It’s reasonable to think that we can revive the campaign,” she said. “We want to make it a very inclusive kick-off and bring people back into the fold.”

De Ravel said she is hoping that the lower cost of this year’s kick-off dinner, coupled with the large celebratory space offered by B’nai Tikvah, will bring many people out for the event.

“We’re charging less and creating more excitement,” she said. “We’re trying to get people’s enthusiasm up. It’s time to wake up and smell the roses and take one’s place at the table, back in the community.

“It’s our Jewish responsibility to be thinking about each other and looking out for each other,” she said. “We want to get as many people as possible [to the dinner] so we feel like a strong community again.”

Floreen Ritzer, campaign manager for the federation, described the kick-off dinner as a community builder and an evening of inspiration.

“Every additional dollar we raise means more money going to ensuring the continued survival of the Jewish people,” Ritzer wrote in an e-mail. “I thank the volunteers for the time and devotion given to the federation, working passionately on the campaign kick-off.”

Tickets for the kick-off dinner are $75 plus a minimum $500 donation to the annual campaign. The reservation deadline is Oct. 22. For reservations, contact Ritzer at 609-219-0555, or send an email to mailbox@jewishpmb.org.

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