Federation Campaign hits goal

BY KEREN DOUEK, ASSISTANT EDITOR

The St. Louis Jewish Federation achieved its goal of raising $2.5 million for the Israel Emergency Campaign with days left to spare, but is still working hard to reach the $10.8 million goal for its 2006 Annual Campaign, according to Ruth Lederman, assistant executive vice-president and director of development for the Federation.

Lederman said the money raised “came mostly from our ongoing generous donors, but we were very pleased to see that many people within the community decided to give either first time gifts or way beyond their annual commitments.”

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The Federation declared the month Solidarity September and has been focusing on raising money for both campaigns, including local synagogue and agency leaders to help spread the message.

Barry Rosenberg, executive vice president of the Federation, said the success of the Emergency Campaign “demonstrates the Federation’s ability to provide leadership and provide the assistance that Israel so desperately needs.”

“We are very grateful for the more than 2,500 donors thus far who have given to the Israel Emergency Campaign,” Rosenberg said. “Their generosity demonstrates that American Jews stand strongly with Israel.”

Dana DeBlasi of the Federation said virtually all of the local congregations have agreed “to really connect with their congregants over the High Holidays, particularly Rosh Hashanah, about the importance of the campaign, and really encourage at this particular time for them to open their hearts and make contributions to Solidarity September … several of our agencies have asked that someone from the Federation come and speak on behalf of the campaign.”

Congregational rabbis have been asked to speak about Israel from their pulpits over the High Holy Days, and to distribute pledge cards and postcards that have stickers with the solidarity symbol on them, designed to be put on cell phones, PDA devices, or anywhere else.

DeBlasi said the agencies have been equally as willing and excited about being involved “in this amazing sort of communal act in response to what has been going on in Israel.”

The Federation brought in Shimon Peres, Israel’s deputy prime minister, to speak to the community and support local fundraising efforts for the State of Israel.

According to Meg Crane of the Federation, Peres’ visit brought in more than $240,000 toward the Israel Emergency Campaign.

Rosenberg said the event was a big success, and “a wonderful opportunity for St. Louis to host such a major Israeli figure.”

“His participation was very helpful in enabling us to reach our goal,” Rosenberg said.

On Thursday, Nov. 2, Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel will host an evening of eclectic music called “To Israel With Love” of which all proceeds will go to the Jewish Federation Israel Emergency Fund. The event will begin at 2 p.m. and will feature Rabbi Mordecai Miller; Rabbi James Goodman; Phyllis Hyken; STAAM — the Washington University A Cappella Choir; The St. Louis Circle of Jewish Music; Makeala — the Solomon Schechter Day School Chorus; and the JCC teen choir directed by Cantor Adina Frydman.

Tickets for the program are $20 each and are available at B’nai Amoona, BSKI, and Shaare Zedek.

Rosenberg said the Federation’s efforts during the next three months will be focused on reaching the Federation’s annual campaign goal.

“The $10.8 million is essential to maintain the infrastructure of services that we turn to in times of crisis,” Rosenberg said, “and to maintain services locally for all of the people who are helped by the Federation agencies.”

Keren Douek is an assistant editor and can be reached at [email protected]

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