January 9, 2024

This past Sunday, our Jewish Federation held its 29th Annual Meeting. This event each year is a chance for us to look back at all we have done in the year prior and what is in store for the year to come. In addition, this year, we awarded two scholarships – the Kimberly Dawn Ellis scholarship to Samuel Svonkin and our High School Junior Scholarship to Neria Spence. We also honored Nancy Carlton as our 2023 Volunteer of the Year.

Since I know that many were not able to attend Sunday’s meeting, I thought I would share a portion of the remarks I delivered during the meeting.

We hold our annual meeting each year to update our community on what we have accomplished or done in the past year and to look ahead and share what is in store. We also use this opportunity to explain further the value our Jewish Federation adds to our community. 

As you may remember, in March 2021, following the release of a couple of national studies that explored the current state of American Jewry, we conducted a community-wide survey. Our goal for the survey was to get a better understanding of who our community is and what they were looking for our Jewish Federation to do. One of the glaring aspects that we gleaned from the survey was that people need help understanding exactly what it is our Jewish Federation does. 

This was important for us to learn so that we could figure out how to address this challenge as an organization. And so, since 2021, we have worked hard to focus our attention on this while we continued to offer the programs and services that so many people have benefitted from and enjoyed over the years. 

I bring this up today because I honestly believe that the work and positive impact our Jewish Federation had on our community in 2023 clearly illustrates what we do and the value we add to our community. Whether it was our continued effort to help the community stay focused on security through our Comprehensive Community-wide Security Plan or our joining the Southern California Jewish Security Alliance, our work to locally combat antisemitism and all forms of hate in the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, or the day to day work we did towards fulfilling our mission to build community by strengthening and enhancing Jewish life… I believe people now see and better understand why our Jewish Federation is critical to our local Jewish community.

None of this would be possible without the support and dedication of my staff, who work tirelessly and are dedicated to their work, and our Board of Governors. Their guidance, wisdom, and insight are invaluable to the work I do leading our Jewish Federation. However, we would not have a Jewish Federation in our community without the support from our local Jewish community members. It is through this financial support that our Jewish Federation is able to ensure there is a strong and vibrant Jewish presence and voice in the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. 

Thank you to all of you for helping to make this possible. 

2024 will be an incredible year, partly because we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary and have a fantastic lineup of exciting programs and activities. I hope to see you during the year.


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