Essential Investments, Difficult Conversations on Israel, and Pride. It’s Friday.

I’m thankful for the many community members who joined Federation on Tuesday for our Annual Meeting. The evening of music and art was quite unlike others we’ve hosted and was a meaningful and apt way to mark a year unlike any other. To see (or relive) it for yourself, watch the recording.

Below, you’ll find an update on Federation’s FY25 investments, ideas for how to talk about Israel in this moment, and thoughts on a Pride Month that feels very different.

This coming week, we’ll also mark the holiday of Shavuot. I’m looking forward to being in community for the customary full night of celebration and learning… and cheesecake.

Shabbat Shalom,
Gil Preuss, CEO
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

P.S. Keep an eye out for It’s Friday every other week in June and July.

Essential Investments. This week, Federation’s Board of Directors approved investing more than $16 million to meet community needs for FY25. These investments will combat antisemitism, support the next generation, uplift Israelis in this challenging moment and for the long term, and more. Specifics include:

  • $3.8M to support Israel, Israelis, and Jewish communities around the world.
  • $1M to accelerate our investment in local security through JShield, Federation’s security program.
  • $580k+ to help those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s connect with their Jewish identities and community.

More to come on these and other investments – none of which would be possible without donors like you.

Talking About Israel. The Forward’s Jodi Rudoren recently wrote about how to talk to people we disagree with on Israel. I can’t recall a moment when this question was harder and more pressing in our community.

  • I think about this challenge often. How do we approach conversations when there is seemingly so much at stake? How do we balance the desire for relationships with significant differences in views?
  • I would love to hear from you if and how you address this challenge in your own life and family.

Celebrating Pride. Post October 7th, many Jews are feeling alienated in and from spaces they’ve helped build for decades. This piece today in Jewish Insider highlights how different this Pride Month feels for many Jews in the LGBTQ community.

  • Gabby Deutch writes, “As millions of LGBTQ people and their allies make plans to take part in Pride parades around the country this month, many Jewish members of the queer community are skeptical about joining the celebrations, fearful that their Jewish identity will lead them to face exclusion from a community that has for decades argued forcefully about the power of inclusion.”
  • The article includes an important message from Josh Maxey, executive director of LGBTQ synagogue Bet Mishpachah and a Federation Board member. “I’ve been telling folks that you do what makes you feel comfortable, but know that the Jewish community is behind you, and we have each other’s backs. This is not a moment in time where we should feel, as a Jewish community, we need to go into hiding.”