A Northern Virginia Update: The Power of Community

Today, across Northern Virginia and throughout the Jewish world we celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim – a favorite of both children and adults. During Purim, we celebrate Jewish survival and continuity by dressing in costume, reading the Book of Esther, sharing mishloach manot (gifts of food), eating a festive meal, and fulfilling the mitzvah (commandment) of matanot l’evyonim (gifts for those in need). I hope you found a place to enjoy one of the many local celebrations!

The Purim mitzvah of donating to those in need reminds us that even in times of celebration, there are individuals and families in need in our community. It’s with them in mind that Federation is once again mobilizing Jewish Greater Washington for the Sara & Samuel J. Lessans Good Deeds Week (GDW). From April 3-10, 2022, we’ll bring together 60+ Jewish organizations and thousands of community members to combat food insecurity and care for those in need. Below, I share more about GDW, opportunities to volunteer in NOVA, and how community action provides an opportunity to make a tremendous impact.

If you have any questions, want to learn more about our work, or would like to meet, please contact me at [email protected] or 301.230.7300.

Wishing you a chag Purim sameach (Happy Purim).

The Power of Community

Good Deeds Day (GDD) is an annual, international celebration of Doing Good, and in Greater Washington, Federation proudly hosts the largest GDD effort in North America. In 2021, Federation extended this unique opportunity to a full week, with options to volunteer virtually and in-person to combat food insecurity and care for those in need.

This year, Federation’s Sara & Samuel J. Lessans Good Deeds Week will again focus on food insecurity, aligning with our priorities of caring for individuals and families and meeting our community’s greatest and growing needs.

Food insecurity remains one of the top challenges affecting our community in the wake of the pandemic.

  • 1 out of 10 residents of the metropolitan Washington region is food insecure. Nearly ⅓ of them are children. (Source: Capital Area Food Bank, 2021)
  • Over the past year, Virginia food bank distributions increased 30%, amounting to approximately 170 million pounds of food. (Source: Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger)

As our community emerges from two challenging years, we recognize there are community members still struggling and trying to pick up the pieces. As Judaism teaches, Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh ba’zeh, all Jews are responsible for one another. Good Deeds Week allows us to lighten the load for our friends, family, and neighbors who are struggling. Federation partners, including local agencies, synagogues, schools, Hillels, and youth groups are providing opportunities for community members to prepare and serve meals, donate items to fill the shelves of local food pantries, sort, and pack food boxes, and collect clothing and other essential items for those in need. In NOVA, the beneficiary organizations include:

  • Alive!
  • Cornerstones
  • Ecumenical Community Helping Others (ECHO)
  • Embry Rucker Community Shelter
  • Food For Others
  • Loudoun Emergency Homeless Shelter
  • Mobile Hope
  • Path Forward Virginia

Whether you volunteer on your own or with others in your network, I encourage you to pick a project and join your neighbors in making a difference this Good Deeds Week. Please refer to the extensive list of volunteer opportunities to participate.

Know of a service project to share? Let us know and we will add it to our growing list.

Thank You
We are grateful to everyone who is planning to volunteer to help meet the needs of our local community. At the same time, our Jewish family in Ukraine is relying on our support as the war continues. Federation and our partners on the ground are coordinating to ensure we can swiftly meet their humanitarian needs. One hundred percent of your gift to Federation’s Ukraine Emergency Fund will support Ukraine’s Jewish community. Please donate today.