Q: What is Federation?
A: A Federation is the heart and soul of a Jewish community’s philanthropic and humanitarian activities. It is where a community comes together as one to care for people in need and to nurture and sustain Jewish identity for future generations locally, in Israel, and around the world. Inspired by Jewish values, it is the one place that belongs to every Jew, regardless of affiliation.
Q: What does Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ do?
A: Federation helps all Jews in need locally, in Israel, and around the world. We also connect Jewish individuals and families of all ages and stages to our MetroWest Jewish community in ways that are personally meaningful to them. We fulfill our mission by funding and supporting a community-wide and overseas network of partner agencies that enable us to positively impact thousands of lives.
Q: What does Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ do compared to other Jewish organizations?
A: As part of a continent-wide system, Federation has the capacity to reach every Jew in need with a social service network unparalleled in the world. These resources and the experience and reach of our four preeminent overseas partners — Joint Distribution Committee, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World ORT, and Tikva Children’s Home in Odessa, Ukraine (where Federation also has a partner community) — enable us to bring life-saving and life-sustaining caring to all Jews in need.
Q: What is the North American Jewish community’s relationship to Israel?
A: The building of living bridges with both our partner communities and with Israel at large is the hallmark of the Greater MetroWest-Israel connection. These partnerships bring Greater MetroWesters and Israelis together through personal and meaningful cultural, educational, and professional exchanges; missions and visits; and summer and college break trips every year. Each of our partnerships are unique, but all further our commitment to klal yisrael and tikkun olam — one Jewish people and repairing of the world.
Q: What kinds of projects in Israel are supported by Federation?
A: Among the many projects are Ethiopian absorption in Rishon LeZion, an extended school day for low-income students in Ofakim/Merchavim, English language enrichment in Arad/Tamar, religious pluralism programs, responses to terrorism, leadership development opportunities, and Jewish identity-building trips to Israel for teens, college students, and young adults.
Fundraising: Where do the dollars go?
Q: Where does my donation go?
A: A gift to the annual United Jewish Appeal Campaign of Greater MetroWest NJ provides unrestricted funds that Federation uses to enable its partner agencies to meet urgent and ongoing humanitarian and social service needs. More than 60 percent of the funds raised stay in Greater MetroWest, helping Jews in need and enhancing Jewish life at home. Part goes to meet overseas needs through Joint Distribution Committee, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World ORT, and Tikva Children’s Home. These dollars help poverty-stricken Jews in Israel, build living bridges between Greater MetroWest and our partner communities in Israel, and help rebuild and develop strong Jewish communities in more than 70 countries around the world.
Q: How are funding priorities in Israel and elsewhere determined and met?
A: To meet ongoing needs, as well as to support programs that benefit diverse populations and circumstances, Federation has put in place an overseas needs and assessment system — a revolutionary approach to overseas funding. This system ensures that a significant amount of the money allocated for overseas purposes will be used to provide core services, such as rescue, immigration, and absorption, with an increasing amount in the future earmarked by Greater MetroWest for other specific, creative projects.
Q: Can I designate where I’d like my money to go?
A: The UJA of Greater MetroWest Annual Campaign is the primary means of meeting the ongoing needs of the Jewish community worldwide. Beyond the annual campaign, various philanthropic opportunities offer a wide variety of programs and projects that stress people-to-people connections in supporting unmet global social and human needs. Endowment gifts enable donors to support a general or specific area of interest. And participating funds allow donors and their families to partner with Federation in funding those areas most deserving of additional support.
Real-Life Questions and Answers
Q: My husband and I would like to adopt a child. Where can we get professional advice and information?
A: Jewish Family Service of MetroWest and Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey are both fully licensed adoption agencies.
Q: My father is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and my mother is overwhelmed caring for him 24/7. What help is available?
A: The Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit at Daughters of Israel in West Orange has a program of activities for people with Alzheimer’s and related disorders that operates seven days a week. It also admits community members who are in the fourth through mid-sixth stage of the disease. The supportive therapeutic environment is designed to maintain quality of life with emphasis on the client/resident’s existing abilities.
Q: Our son just graduated from Hebrew school. We want him to stay involved Jewishly but we’re not sure what programs are available.
A: You will want to connect with The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, Greater MetroWest’s Jewish identity-building agency. It offers dozens of compelling social, educational, and service experiences for teens, pre-teens, and families with young children.
Q: I have a friend whose husband is abusing her. She wants to leave him but she has no financial resources of her own and nowhere to go. Is there anyone she can turn to in confidence?
A: The Rachel Coalition provides counseling and legal assistance to victims of domestic violence and their children. Services include 24-hour emergency response, availability of safe housing, legal assistance, counseling, and more.
Q: My nephew has developmental disabilities. Are there local services available in a Jewish setting?
A: Federation has one of the country’s most comprehensive approaches to creating meaningful participation in Jewish life. Under the auspices of Greater MetroWest ABLE, a network of agencies and advocates serve individuals with special needs of all ages and their families. Services include information and referral; consultation; support groups and advocacy; vocational training and job placement; kosher group homes; a supervised apartment program; enriching day programs, schools, summer camp, and social and cultural activities; and respite opportunities.
Q: I’m appalled by the anti-Israel rhetoric taking place on college campuses. What can I do?
A: You can connect and take action with like-minded people through the Community Relations Committee of Greater MetroWest NJ, the public affairs and policy arm of Federation. CRC mobilizes the community and advocates on behalf of Israel, against Iranian nuclearization, and addressing a host of other issues of concern to the Jewish community and community at large.
Q: I don’t have a lot of extra time. How can I get involved?
A: The Federation's Center for Volunteerism offers a variety of ways you can get involved and make a difference in the community, at whatever commitment level is comfortable for you. Click here to get involved today.