Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Purim Sameach from the Federation!

The year 2012 has been an eventful one so far for Federation, and as our Annual Campaign marches forward, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the 'World of Good' that you are enabling here at Federation.

New Federation Offerings In a few short months we've launched some highly impactful programs and initiatives that enhance our community, help those in need, and build strong lasting connections to Jewish life.

One Happy Camper
Our One Happy Camper program has launched a second year of providing much-needed financial incentives to families and children considering the amazing experience of attending Jewish summer overnight camp. This year we have already given grants to over one hundred first time campers. As a former camper myself and a parent of three who saw his children experience Jewish life at summer camp, I urge all of you to spread the word about One Happy Camper. Check it out by clicking here.

The Mitzvah Makers

I'm also proud to announce that our new Mitzvah Makers program has just launched. This exciting program encourages young students preparing for their bar or bat mitzvah to partner with Federation to weave the spirit of tzedakah and tikkun olam into their important rite of passage and make a lasting connection to their community and philanthropy. We're proud to offer San Diego bar and bat mitzvah students these free tools and guidance to help them do a world of good.

The 2030 Project
Young adults are important to our Jewish community, and your Federation continues to provide programs for these key constituents. We are in the process of kicking off our 2030 Project Community Portal, a proposal that was developed during our in-depth study of the needs of this demographic group. The portal will bring together the next generation of Jewish leaders and philanthropists and maximize their potential to volunteer, study Torah and be active in our community. Stay tuned for more information as the strategies outlined in our 2030 Project continue to unfold.

Sha'ar HaNegev Partnership Community
We are thrilled to announce an exciting new initiative designed to take our 13-year relationship with Federation's partner region in Israel, Sha'ar HaNegev, to a new level. Partnership 2Gether, a program of our longstanding partner, The Jewish Agency for Israel, offers us an opportunity to expand our mutually beneficial connection between the Jewish community in San Diego and the people of Sha'ar HaNegev. Our joint steering committee met last month in Israel for a four-day intensive planning session to launch this new partnership. Thank you to Rick Kornfeld and Larry Acheatel for traveling to Israel for this effort. Federation is also pleased to announce the upcoming dedication on June 26 of a new high school, the Sha'ar HaNegev Educational Village, built with the support of the San Diego Jewish community. Federation is proud to help fulfill David Ben-Gurion's dream of seeing the Negev bloom. Click here for more information.

The new Jewish Educational Services Council (JESC) has been working to identify education priorities, increase access to Jewish education, and support a new framework for planning communitywide Jewish education. Our community education stakeholders are deeply engaged in this visioning, planning, research and advisory forum and are providing community feedback on current programs and services, advocating for increased community involvement in Jewish education, and exploring best practices.

Under the leadership of Caryn Viterbi, the JESC has been meeting this year to help guide our community, provide leadership and raise the bar on our communal commitment to Jewish education. I am in awe of the work of this critical group. Their commitment to the concept of collective impact in Jewish education will serve us well in the months and years to come.

New Federation Website
In January, Federation officially launched its new and improved website -, which offers the latest news, community events and Jewish resources here in San Diego. It is a completely redesigned and modernized website that has helped re-launch our presence of the web, enable a more robust social media strategy, and communicate the work of Federation in the community.

The website features RSS feeds from breaking news sources on Israel, engaging blogs, new interesting videos and social media integration. You will also find the most up-to-date information on critical Federation programs, missions and opportunities to do a world of good!

This new website also serves as a community resource for everything Jewish in San Diego! Our "Local News" feed features the most up-to-date events from all of our partners here in San Diego, including the JCC, JFS, The SD Jewish Journal, SD Jewish World and more.

Heart to Heart Mission

San Diego's amazing women, including my wonderful wife Amy, embarked on a journey to Israel last month and shared their experiences with us via live blogging of their adventure. One of the best ways to see the work of Federation in Israel is to travel on a Federation mission. I invite you see check out their blog at

Federation and JFNA Role in Supporting Civil Society in Israel

Your Federation has spoken out loudly to support recent Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) statements condemning acts of extremism and intolerance in Israel's society. Our Federation system has been actively working, along with our traditional partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to encourage a society that promotes tolerance and equal opportunity for all people in Israel. Our system collectively supports religious streams in Israel, including the Reform and Conservative movements, as well as other programs that strengthen Israeli society by fostering understanding and integration. JFNA's senior leadership met with Prime Minister Netanyahu just this week when they again raised the topic and expressed the concern of North America's Jewish community on this issue.

Our 2012 Annual Community Campaign

I want to express our sincere appreciation on behalf of the network of organizations and programs throughout our community and around the Jewish world. The work you are enabling through your support of our Annual Campaign continues to be vital to our efforts to build a vibrant Jewish community and make sure Jews in need are cared for. Many of you have responded whenever we ask for your support and have already made a commitment to our current 2012 campaign, and we thank you. For those of you who have not been reached or who have not yet made a commitment, please consider a gift to your Federation. Click here to view our moving campaign video. It so poignantly demonstrates the value of supporting your Federation. Click here to make a gift or to pay an existing pledge.


On our Jewish calendar we just began the month of Adar, famous for my favorite holiday of the year, Purim. We are commanded by our tradition to be joyful during the month of Adar. In today's fast-paced and sometimes challenging world, I think it is important that we all take a moment to celebrate and be joyous. Enjoy the holiday of Purim with family and friends. Fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the Megillat Esther read aloud, enjoy a Hamantaschen, or go to a Purim carnival. These are some of the fun and beautiful traditions that bring our community closer and give us all a sense of hope and confidence in the future.

Thanks for all you do for the community.

Chag Sameach,

Steven J. Morris
President & CEO, Jewish Federation of San Diego County


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