Thursday, March 15, 2007

Show Me the Money......

Well, after being very zealous about making sure that I was posting daily, I missed yesterday. The reason was that it was a crazy busy day. (At least that is the way my 13 year old would say it) Partly because I was preparing my presentation to our local Federation for our annual allocation. For the un-initiated, in Jewish communities around North America, there are Jewish Federations who fund programs in their local communities, as well as overseas. Every year, those agencies are required to come before a committee to explain why they deserve continued support (read = money) And we have come to depend and rely on it. The challenge for those committees is to decide which of the organizations deserves how much of a slice of the communal pie. And, of course, each of us feels that we deserve more, and the other guy deserves their share, but not at our expense.
But what happens when the money becomes the issue and the problems/needs are overlooked? I pose this question since it is a community wide discussion here. We live in a small-ish town close to New York. Many of the people who live here go to "the big City" for fun and food. There are those, however, that want to remain in their humble suburban neighborhood, and not have to go elsewhere for those things. Recently, a group of singles convened a meeting of the major organizations to say that they wanted us to help provide support for them to hold singles activities in the town in which they live. Not an unreasonable request. At the end of the day, they were being told, "there is no money for this, and if you want it, you have to do it yourself." Yes, many of these singles are financially comfortable, smart, educated and independent. However, most of them are also too busy to organize mailings and emails to try to coordinate activities. Now you might say that this is a wonderful opportunity for some entrepreneur to set up a business, but this has not happened. Nor do i think it will. But as a Jewish Communal Professional I have to ask, isn't this group of people important to us? We are always complaining about intermarriage, and decry the less than 50% affiliation of Jews living in our communities. So here we have an opportunity, and let's be honest, to provide a service to our community that wouldn't actually cost that much in the end. Think of how great it would be to bring these people into the community, give them a meaningful experience, and turn them into committed members of our community, who might even meet their bashert along the way.
In any event, I believe that we, as professionals and as a community have a responsibility to help everyone in our community, unless, and this is rare, we absolutely can't. There are always ways to empower people who want to be empowered to take charge, and this is where we fall down. I try never to say no unless i have to. What about you?

1 comment:

Pam said...

A rare moment: I wholeheartedly agree with you. The only thing I don't believe is that not one of the synagogues, or the JFS or JCC or UJF has a professional on staff who could handle this, if it were limited to three hours per week, which is probably what it would take. When there is a jewish communal will, there is always a way.