Raising Jews

I’m very proud that we’re the most successful New Jersey-based Jewish philanthropy. We raise
more philanthropic dollars through more philanthropic vehicles than any of our New Jersey peers. We have the most comprehensive network of agencies and services of any Jewish federation in the State and one of the best in the Country. And we do it efficiently, with the highest ranking of 4 stars from Charity Navigator.

But at the end of the day, our core mission is not the dollars we raise, essential  as they are. It is the means by which we try to achieve our ends: raising Jews. We want the next generation of Jews to connect with other Jews, so that together they can build Jewish families, institutions, and community, and support a vibrant State of Israel. We want Jewish community to be our platform to help other communities in distress, such as  Haiti, and fulfill the Prophetic dictum of being a “light unto the Nations.”

This week’s New Jersey Jewish News highlights visionaries who are using their  passion, commitment and activist philanthropy to help our community raise Jews for the future: the Gottesmans, Westons, Bildners, and others, who are investing in Jewish Day Schools, Jewish Camping and Birthright Israel.

I’ve written before of the “Herskowitz Society of MetroWest,” founded by Jerry and Paula Gottesman, which now has over 45 members, raising over $22 million for endowments to support our day schools, part of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest. And its efforts continue.

Another leading visionary philanthropic family is the Coopermans, led by Leon and Toby Cooperman and their son, Wayne, and daughter-in-law, Jodi. The Cooperman Family Fund for a Jewish Future will endow a permanent Birthright Israel bus for MetroWest, the first endowment of this kind in the country, and fund Jewish camping and youth mitzvah projects. As such, it’s our largest endowment to date focused solely on informal Jewish educational experiences, which researchers tell us succeed in building and strengthening Jewish identity. The impact of this program is incalculable.

We’re in the “business” of raising Jews, and two generations of Coopermans are our latest visionary investors.

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