We have one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in the United States. And it’s busy! Just about any day of the week, there is something inspiring, exciting, fun and/or educational going on — offering numerous opportunities to connect no matter your age, your interests, or your place on your Jewish journey.
Your connection might be as simple as reading a PJ Library® book to your kids or grandkids and as life-changing as a community trip to Israel. There is something for everyone.
A vibrant community is the fruit of dedicated hard work that the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, thanks to the many generous people who have supported us over the years, has been carrying out since our founding in 1928 — 90 years ago. By identifying needs, creating partnerships, and securing resources, we planted the seeds that have grown into a flourishing community.
While the ways in which Federation has done this vital work have changed over the years, our overarching goal has always been the same — to help Jewish life develop and thrive within a culture of community where every Jew can find a welcoming place. No resting on laurels! Then and now, we continue working to make an impact.
Investing in Jewish Life
During the postwar era, Federation investments helped build up the community’s “infrastructure,” creating many engaging ways to connect with Jewish life. Today, Federation investments are building on those accomplishments by:
> Supporting children’s formative Jewish experiences. We send families top-notch PJ Library® books, helping them learn about Jewish traditions and incorporate them into family life. We lower financial barriers so kids can go to Jewish overnight camp and teens can experience Israel, programs that have proven benefits in strengthening Jewish identity.
> Expanding opportunities to create your own community, through neighborhood-level Pop-Up Shabbats and PAVE gatherings for people in their 30s and 40s to “do Jewish” their way.
> Planting seeds for the future. In 2018, 53 years after the Federation established an endowment fund, family, individual, and organizational endowments under Federation stewardship exceed $62 million. Endowment income yielded $1.7 million for Jewish organizations in 2017 alone. Our LIFE & LEGACY™ program, operated in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, has helped secure $7.3 million in legacy gift commitments to sustain Jewish life for future generations.
Connecting with Israel and World Jewry
Strengthening connections with Israel has been a core purpose for Federation since our earliest days. At critical times, we led the community’s response to emergencies – resettling Jews in the new State of Israel, raising funds that the fledgling Jewish state needed to get on its feet, helping Jews make Aliyah from the former Soviet Union during Operation Exodus and from Ethiopia during Operation Solomon.
Today, as we celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, it’s more important than ever to nurture the ties of friendship and family with our Jewish homeland. Just ask teens and young adults who have made life-changing trips to Israel, made possible with Federation support. And, we invite you to get acquainted with the young Israeli emissaries we bring to the region every year to give people of all ages a taste of life in Israel.
Serving as a Community Voice
One person can make a difference. Jewish organizations working together make a lasting, powerful impact on people’s lives. The Federation is the key player bringing organizations together to resolve communal challenges and effectively advocate Jewish community priorities to our elected representatives in Olympia and Washington, DC.
This year, 22 years after starting our government affairs department, Federation advocacy scored significant victories for Jewish Puget Sound (see accompanying story, pg 36). The Community Convening initiative the Federation began in 2017 is the most recent example of Federation bringing community together to take Jewish life to the next level for today’s and tomorrow’s needs.
The Next 90 Years and Beyond
Looking ahead, we are excited about the potential for Jewish life in our growing Puget Sound region. In both familiar ways and new ways that no one can predict, we will continue working to make impact by embracing Jewish values, working respectfully and collaboratively, and nurturing the healthy relationships that are the foundation of community life. It’s work that we all do together in service to community. We invite you to join in and be a part of this exciting journey!