Why you need your local Jewish federation

Why you need your local Jewish federation

Since it is NJJN’s job to report on Jewish life in Greater Middlesex and Monmouth counties, it is also the paper’s job to tell you why you need the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey — and need to support it. Federation isn’t merely an important factor in the existence and well being of the local Jewish community; in actuality, the federation is crucial to its very survival. 

In the Jan. 8 edition, NJJN published an editorial (“An urgent note to our readers and community”) inadvertently asking readers to donate to another community’s federation. We extend our sincere apologies to the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey for this unfortunate — and entirely unintentional — error.

The Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ, which is the only organization that connects Jews and Jewish organizations of every stripe throughout Monmouth and Greater Middlesex counties, is not only extremely deserving of your financial support, the community also needs the federation. We all do. 

The federation leads by enabling this community to care for and feed the elderly, invest in a strong Jewish future by developing Jewish identities in young people, establish emotional and lasting bonds with the State of Israel, and advocate for the needs and security of the entire community — not to mention galvanizing across-the-board responses when crisis strikes — from hurricanes to hate crimes.

Such leadership is crucial in the face of a Jewish world that finds its physical safety increasingly vulnerable, and its cultural and religious continuity at risk of being overwhelmed by apathy. The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey has worked tirelessly to fight off these threats. In 2018 alone, the federation:

  • Obtained $1 million in government security grants to improve the safety of Jewish organizations’ facilities, bringing the three-year total to approximately $3 million; lobbied state lawmakers, who recently signed increases in per-student security funding at Jewish schools into law; supported partner programs training Jewish and interfaith leaders to increase safety and security in our communal gathering places; and educated law enforcement on recognizing and responding to anti-Semitism.
  • Helped serve 40,000 kosher Meals-on-Wheels to homebound seniors or Holocaust survivors; and sponsored almost 6,000 mental health counseling sessions for people who do not have adequate — or any — insurance.
  • Engaged more than 3,000 children in Jewish tradition and learning through PJ Library and camp grants; strengthened the Jewish identities of hundreds of local teens through federation-funded teen programs; and supported Rutgers Hillel’s Shabbat dinner program, which connects hundreds of Jewish students to one another.
  • Invested in a strong Jewish future through its Life & Legacy program, cultivating gifts with a future value worth more than $11 million. Federation is the lead partner in this program with 10 participating Jewish organizations.
  • Held a day-long teen Israel summit together with Jerusalem U, StandWithUs, AIPAC, IAC, BBYO, USY, and others to connect teens to Israel and provide them with basic Israel-advocacy tools before college; brought two Israeli teen ambassadors from the Jewish Agency to our community for a year, in celebration of Israel@70; and provided 53 local teens with Israel travel grants.

The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey and NJJN are lifelines to our community, and you can support both at once: With a minimum $36 donation to federation, you receive a complementary subscription to NJJN. Visit jewishheartnj.org/njjn or call 732-588-1800.

As with our original editorial, we are asking for your help to allow federation to continue to provide its services for the Jewish community, and so NJJN can tell you all about it.

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