Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Jerry  Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America.
Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America.

As the Jewish Federations annual General Assembly nears, I find myself looking back and thinking about the past year.

To be sure, we have had our fair share of sorrow. The Israeli governments decision to freeze construction of the egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall (Kotel); displays of abhorrent hate and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville; unforgiving natural disasters that devastated Houstons Jewish community and plunged millions in uncertainty and vulnerability — all of these events have left us disappointed, frustrated, terrified. Its easy to measure this year in heartaches.

But we can also measure the year in other ways. Here in this magazine, there are moving stories about people whose lives have been transformed by Jewish Federations — and each one of them represents millions more.

Our Jewish Federation Movement is more than 100 years old, and time and time again we have come together and changed history. From helping to build a modern Jewish State to responding to Israels emergencies, supporting Operations Exodus and Solomon to building community infrastructure and helping the most vulnerable in more than 70 countries around the world, ours is a magnificent legacy. And its one upon which we continue to build.

In our second 100 years, change is happening across our Federation communities. Like the major emphasis being placed on engaging a new generation in Jewish life, and the inventive work being done to expand and grow and reinvent. We are widening our communal tent, inviting in groups that havent felt as welcomed in the recent past. Communities of all sizes are developing new, creative models to meet ever-changing local needs.

Our success — past and future — can be measured by the integrity we bring to our work. We have developed a legacy of trust. We are proud that we have always been and will always be counted on as one of the most trusted sources of Jewish philanthropy in the world.

Thank you for your ongoing support,

Jerry Silverman

President and CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America