Oil on Canvas 16x20
Original Image Taken: 1975
One of the things I love most about being Jewish is probably the very thing that I have always taken for granted: the organized Jewish community and the infrastructure that supports it.
At any stage of my life, whether I was a new mom searching for camaraderie through ‘Tot Shabbat’ classes, or finding a kosher caterer for my wedding, or joining the JCC (Jewish Community Center) to take an aerobics class, I have always been able to connect to the right organization and seamlessly have my Jewish needs met. The organized Jewish community has never let me down.
Having worked as a professional in Jewish communal service for many years I also know that the Jewish community is there to step in and support its most vulnerable members with high quality assistance that is culturally sensitive in every way. “From the cradle to the grave”, the Jewish community is there when you need it.
But who makes it happen?
Women like the ones pictured here are often at the heart of community fundraising efforts. One of my dear friends recounted memories of her mom’s tireless devotion to fundraising for her local Jewish Federation. Shawna told me that her mother, a gifted philanthropist, approached the task with flair and a sense of occasion to motivate her women friends to come to her living room and get involved. Through personalized note-writing campaigns armies of women raised funds for anything from feeding the hungry to opening a new wing at the senior citizen’s memory care facility. Shawna remembers the preparations that her mother organized in advance of these meetings: the wall-to-wall carpeting was freshly vacuumed such that you would see tracks from the Electrolux; the silver was polished to a shine and baked goods (that had been frozen in tins for weeks) were laid out on the good china. Hair appointments and elegant dresses with the smell of different perfumes wafting through the house were all a part of the effort. But in the end, “community” was as the forefront of these meetings where women gathered for socializing and hard work to plan galas, special events and auctions that raised the funds needed to achieve their goals.