Making a Global Impact: A Message from Gil Preuss

As Jews, our community extends well beyond our zip codes. We are part of a global family, one that reaches out to care for one another and build lasting, meaningful connections.

At The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, we are proud to partner with organizations that are working to shrink the distance between us and our fellow Jewish communities around the world.

In partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency for Israel, we provide critical support to those in need. Our donors make it possible for our community to supply 29,000 Jewish children and families across Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union with hunger relief, medication, and other crucial services. From Greece to Morocco, we have sent cash grants to help elderly individuals and families experiencing hardship.

Our support has made it possible for more than 22,000 French, Ukrainian, and Ethiopian immigrants to Israel adjust to Israeli society, including assistance with learning Hebrew and finding employment.

We are also helping to ensure that Jews everywhere have the opportunity to strengthen their Jewish identities.

In Cuba, for example, the JDC has helped to breathe new life into the local Jewish community. Today, Beth Shalom, Cuba’s largest synagogue and Jewish community center, is rebuilding and engaging the next generation of Jewish leaders.

In Tunisia and Bulgaria, young Jews—including girls—have the opportunity to attend Jewish schools. In Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, hundreds of families are passing on Jewish traditions to their children with the help of Baltic Jewish Family Camp. And in Hungary, 1,500 campers from around the world have the chance to get in touch with their Jewish roots at the Szarvas international Jewish summer camp, all made possible by the JDC.

Finally, while ours is truly a global family, the heart of the Jewish people resides in Israel. That is why the vision for our community is of one that embraces Jewish peoplehood and Israel, and why we invest in enhancing our connections with Israel and Israelis.

In Latin America, 4,500 Jews have been able to travel to Israel through Birthright Israel, Masa Israel and other organizations. In Greater Washington people to explore, study, or work in Israel.

We are also proud to bring Israelis here to Washington. Through our Congregational Shlichim Program, in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel, we bring young emissaries from Israel to share their experiences and perspectives with our community. Additionally, each year, 1,300 Jewish Agency for Israel shlichim work at Jewish summer camps, helping tens of thousands of young Jews to form meaningful connections with Israel and their Israeli counterparts.

Collectively, the work of Jewish Federations throughout North America helps to maintain vital lifelines and connections that keep the Jewish community strong.

This week, as we once again receive news of a terror attack in Israel and hateful language in Pittsburgh, we are reminded that no matter where we live, we have each other’s backs. When we work together as a community, as a national network, and as a global people, anything is possible. We can navigate the challenges that come our way and, together, rejoice in our heritage and take pride in our future.

The work we do around the world will only grow more important over time. I hope you will consider giving to our Annual Campaign so that we may continue to strengthen our Jewish family in the years to come.

Shabbat Shalom,