by Arlene D. Schiff, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires
Over the years the Berkshire Jewish Community has established a wonderful infrastructure. Vibrant quality programs enage, educate and care for Jews throughout the county. Facilites, both new and recently updated, house our congregations, the Federation and Sinai Academy of the Berkshires - while dedicated professional and lay leadership oversee current operations and develop priorities and strategies for the future.
There is much to celebrate, but we must also accept certain realities. Our ability to continue to maintain the programs and services currently offered by the Federation, our congregations and day school require long-term financing if they are to remain stable and vibrant, and our capacity to expand our services is also contingent on additional funding.
For this reason, the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires and its affiliate organizations, in conjunction with the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Western Massachusetts, are establishing the "Berkshire Jewish Community Endowment" and kicking off our "Create a Jewish Legacy Campaign." Funds raised through the "Create a Jewish Legacy Campaign" will guarantee that our vital programs will flourish and that our Jewish organizations will experience less pressure for fundraising on an annual basis.
You may recall that last April the Federation received notice that we were the recipients of funds from the estate of Arthur Kriger, of blessed memory. Some of the funds were designated for use by the "Older Adult Kosher Hot Meal Program" in which Mr. Kriger participated.
Others were undesignated for use by the Federation as determined by the board. Thus these funds provided us with both the ability to host the free "Rick Recht Concert" this past November - which was the catalyst for bringing together the Jewish teens of Berkshire county - and it has enabled us to hire Susan Frisch Lehrer as our Coordinator of Volunteers.
Without the generosity of Arthur Kriger, neither of these initiatives would have been possible.
Leaving a bequest was Arthur's way of saying thank you for the meals and social interaction he received through the Federation's lunch program. He was also making a statement of the value he placed on the work of the Federation and the other organizations he designated in his will.
The Federation's other endowments have made it possible for us to offer scholarships to youth attending Jewish camp and graduating seniors. The Michael Nathaniel Shute Endowment has provided the Federation with the funds to assist every Berkshire county teen who wishes to visit or study in Israel. The Federation's annual campaign does not generate enough dollars to fund these activities. These initiatives are only possible because of the foresight of those who established endowments for these purposes.
You do not need to be wealthy to be part of the "Create a Jewish Legacy Campaign." Just as you give annually to the Federation, your congregation, day school, and other favorite charities, you can leave a bequest or establish an endowment fund and designate one or more charitable organizations or purposes as perpetual beneficiaries of your gift. more
Legacy Circle Testimonials
As part of the Create a Jewish Legacy program, David Verzi, Editor, Berkshire Jewish Voice has interviewed members of the Legacy Circle to give them an opportunity to share with others the reason behind their decision to include the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires in their estate planning. Read the testimonials here.
by Lynn Dashevsky, Former Executive Director, Jewish Endowment Foundation of Western MA
When we talk to our children, we don't always know if they are listening to us. I don't know about you, but I'm always worried it is going in one ear and out the other.
But there is a statement we can make to our children - and grandchildren - and across generations: a statement they will hear. We do have a way to convey our values, convey what is really important to us. By participating in the "Berkshire Jewish Community Endowment" and the "Create a Jewish Legacy Campaign," we can speak to our children in a way that is louder and clearer than mere words could ever be.
Remember the story of the man who plants a tree, knowing he will not live to see its fruit? Jewish tradition exhorts us to recount throughout the generations the story of this man who plants selflessly for the generations to come. When we contribute to our community's endowment, we plant a tree- carrying on a legacy through our children and grandchildren, sustaining our traditions through a uncertain future. more