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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

September 26, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

How Federation made difference in their lives

By BOB FRYER Jewish Press


Jillian Kalman and her mom, Lisa. Jillian was able to attend a Jewish summer camp thanks to a Federation-sponsored scholarship. Jillian Kalman and her mom, Lisa. Jillian was able to attend a Jewish summer camp thanks to a Federation-sponsored scholarship. When you are asking members of the local Jewish community to make a pledge for the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties Annual Campaign, it helps to show where the money goes.

To that end, when the Federation held its campaign fund-raising kickoff event on Sept. 17, Federation President Karen Reich opted not to give a long speech about the good the Federation does, but to invite folks from the community to tell how donated money has a positive impact on their lives.

***

“You haven’t met me before because I haven’t ever been to an organized Jewish event. I’m not Jewish,” began Sarah Boses. “Recently, my husband began thinking about introducing our 3- and 4-year-old boys to Judaism. Although my husband was born in Israel, he hasn’t ever been a practicing Jew. I have to admit, this terrified me. How could I participate?”


Jillian Kalman thanked the Federation for a scholarship that allowed her to go to Camp Coleman, a Jewish sleepover camp in north Georgia. Jillian’s mom gave back by doing volunteer work on Super Sunday. Jillian Kalman thanked the Federation for a scholarship that allowed her to go to Camp Coleman, a Jewish sleepover camp in north Georgia. Jillian’s mom gave back by doing volunteer work on Super Sunday. Boses said her sister-in-law signed her children up for the PJ Library, a program made possible by the Jewish Federation.

“Age appropriate Jewish books come to our house each month and we read them together,” Boses said, telling how this month the book was about Sukkot. “I learned all about Sukkot with my boys, a holiday I hadn’t ever heard of, but one that teaches values that we share. I don’t know where this Jewish journey will take us, but I’m certain that PJ Library opened the door for us to comfortably walk through at our own pace.”


Jennifer Rosoff began her affiliation with the Young Adult Division by attending a Vodka Latke party. She became increasingly involved and now chairs the group. Jennifer Rosoff began her affiliation with the Young Adult Division by attending a Vodka Latke party. She became increasingly involved and now chairs the group. * * *

Young Jillian Kalman went to Camp Coleman, a Jewish sleepaway summer camp in north Georgia, thanks to a Covenant Fund scholarship provided by the Federation.

“I made new friends, tried new things and learned a lot. One of my favorite parts was Shabbat. The whole camp got together wearing white. I loved the song session when I was dancing and singing with all of my friends,” Jillian said.

“I feel like I have a better understanding of what being Jewish means to me. I am so glad that I was able to go to Camp Coleman. Thank you to the Jewish Federation for making Camp Coleman possible for me,” she added.

Kalman’s mother, Lisa, pointed out that as a recipient of a camp scholarship the Federation asks that recipient’s family give back by volunteering. Kalman decided to assist at the Super Sunday phone-a-thon in which volunteers call community members seeking donations for the Annual Campaign. “As you might expect, I wasn’t looking forward to making these calls,” she said.


Doug Negretti said a partnership between the Jewish Burial Society and the Federation has helped improve conditions at Chapel Hill Cemetery. Doug Negretti said a partnership between the Jewish Burial Society and the Federation has helped improve conditions at Chapel Hill Cemetery. But once Kalman began making calls, “I quickly learned that there was more to this event than just asking for financial support,” she said. “As a group we called over a thousand local Jews. I saw that for some, this contact was the opportunity for the person we are calling to ask for help – a senior who needed transportation, a family struggling with the challenges of a child with special needs, a recently divorced mom seeking counseling for her children. We were able to connect these members of our community with Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services.

“In the end, it wasn’t difficult to ask for people’s support. Most people were happy to give and I felt confident asking for it because I believed in the impact the Federation is having in our community,” Kalman said.

* * *

Young Adult Division chair Jennifer Rosoff explained how she got involved, saying it began when a friend invited her to the Federation’s annual Vodka Latke party for young adults.

“At first, I was intimidated about getting involved because I haven’t been very observant or religious,” Rosoff. But she said the Federation’s Elana Gootson “assured me that no matter what your ‘ish’ is, there is a place for you at Federation.”

Rosoff said the YAD Council has “made some significant changes to the YAD programming” such as discontinuing happy hours in favor of “Havdalah hangouts in people’s homes.”

“I’m excited to be involved with Federation and look forward to creating meaningful Jewish events for local young adults,” she said.

* * *

Doug Negretti of the Jewish Burial Society talked about the importance of the Federation’s support.

“Three years ago a group of community leaders, with the support of Congregation B’nai Israel and Temple Beth-El, purchased the Chapel Hill Cemetery and formed the Jewish Burial Society of Pinellas County,” he said. “Our sole mission is to operate and grow Chapel Hill as a non-profit corporation. We uphold Jewish burial traditions and maintain the grounds to pay respect to our ancestors and their families.

“The Jewish Federation has been an important partner in many ways. Not just by giving us the financial help that we are so grateful for, but also by spreading awareness of our Jewish cemetery.”

He said last year the Federation’s Jewish Leadership Training Institute for young adults came out to the cemetery and significantly improved the beauty of two areas. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Jewish Federation for many years to come,” he said.

* * *

The presentation also included a YouTube video from Jordyn Schwersky, daughter of Steve Schwersky, a Federation board member. The video was of her on the balcony of her apartment in Jerusalem, where she is serving an internship as a journalist for the Jerusalem Post. She received a partial scholarship for her internship from the Federation.


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