By Marc B. Terrill
As we have turned the page into a new year on the Hebrew calendar – 5774 – it is the perfect time for us to reflect on both our individual and collective goals — for ourselves, our families and our community. The holidays represent a time of renewal, reflection, introspection and rededication.
We are all blessed to live in a vibrant, strong Jewish community. Given the breadth of organizations, agencies, schools and synagogues throughout our community, it is clear that we all benefit from our individual commitment and collective action.
The start of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s Annual Campaign coincides with the start of the Jewish New Year. In those moments when we find ourselves looking for deeper meaning in our lives and ways to engage with the Jewish world around us, The Associated’s Annual Campaign provides a comprehensive and compelling platform for collective action. Whether taking care of vulnerable elderly, supporting Jewish experiences for our youth, aiding those who have fallen on tough economic times, supporting victims of trauma in Israel and the list goes on, an Annual Campaign gift touches hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe.
One of the most important and prominent scholars in Jewish history, Rabbi Hillel, said the following….. “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? If I am only for myself, then what am I? And, if not now, when?” The elegance and import of this message is a timeless call to action. At this time of renewal, we should all think about who we are, how we can make the world a better place and, ultimately, the legacy that we want to leave.
Now is the time for all of us to think about our sacred obligation as Jews and just what type of world we want to live in. The central tenets of Judaism inspire us to think about caring for each other and contributing to the health of our community. Our system of one gift touching over two dozen beneficiary agencies and programs in Baltimore and abroad brings profound utility to our Baltimore community. Competition between agencies is dampened, if not eliminated, and collaboration among agencies means a holistic approach to service delivery. Our total communal picture is addressed, rather than a more piecemeal approach.
Between now and the end of December, our campaign professionals and volunteers will be working to raise the critical funds needed to sustain our services. These campaign pledges are due for payment before December 31, 2014.
As Rabbi Hillel asked, “If not now, when?” Please give of your time, money, wisdom, intellect and soul. In response to Rabbi Hillel’s age-old question, the answer is clear. The time is now! As individuals, we can conduct good work, but as a community, we make miracles happen!