Eight local synagogues and one agency held Legacy Shabbat programs June 21 and 22 as part of “Create a Jewish Legacy,” an initiative of the Jewish Community Foundation of St. Louis. More than 650 people took part in the activities that recognized the efforts of more than 200 community volunteer solicitors and celebrated the many donors who have made bequest gifts and legacy commitments to their congregations. The message of the weekend was anyone can leave a legacy.
Participating congregations came from across the denominational spectrum and put their unique spin on the weekend events. The congregations included: Bais Abraham Congregation, Central Reform Congregation, Congregation B’nai Amoona, Congregation Shaare Emeth, Kol Rinah, Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha Congregation, Traditional Congregation and United Hebrew Congregation. The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center also held an event. Nusach Hari B’nai Zion will hold a Legacy Shabbat on July 6, and Young Israel of St. Louis will hold a Legacy Shabbat on Aug. 24.
Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. Lay leader Sherri Weintrop said the Legacy Shabbat was a great success at Kol Rinah. “It’s a forum where we can really showcase the Create a Jewish Legacy program to many of our congregants and its unbelievable impact for our future,” she said. “Our synagogue’s programming made our legacy donors feel appreciated, while also spreading the message that anyone can leave a legacy.”
Rachel Pereles, who attended Shaare Emeth’s celebration, agreed. “I was touched by all the donors’ stories,” she says. “It was a powerful way to see the impact legacy giving has on the congregation.”
Create a Jewish Legacy is a partnership of 18 agencies, synagogues and day schools with a common goal of securing the future and long-term vitality of the St. Louis Jewish community. The program emphasizes the importance of organizations working together to secure legacy gifts for the betterment of the entire community. Participating organizations receive ongoing training, personal consulting services, marketing assistance and incentive funding to help them implement legacy programs.