Happy Chanukah, Oy! readers! This marks my 12th Oy post and first anniversary blogging for Oy!Chicago. It has been great being an Oy! blogger, a website made possible by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. This post is dedicated to the good folks who fundraise to make possible Oy!Chicago and a whole lot more.
Most people don't realize how much JUF monetary support and JUF funded services can do for them, until they really need it. When individuals in the community here and abroad are really in need, though, JUF is there in a big way. I give to JUF most years, and this year I made a point to give more than I had in the past. I don’t think any buildings are going to be named after me for my contribution, but I did stretch my comfort zone with my donation this year.
It feels good to give and I believe that I am giving for good causes. I know that JUF support goes to Israel, to disasters like the forest fires near Haifa, and to all types of programs in the Chicago community, from supplying food for those that are hungry to providing counseling for those that need help. I also believe in taking advantage of the opportunities JUF provides for me as a young professional in Chicago.
The annual Trades, Industries and Professions (TIP) dinners are opportunities to hear great speakers and network with others in my field. TIP events and Young Leadership Division (YLD) events have helped me to meet people that are relevant for my work. The Walk with Israel is a chance to support Israel in a big way. I have walked with JUF several times and got to see the Idan Reichel Project at the 60th year walk a couple of years ago. This summer, I was lucky enough to staff a Shorashim trip for Birthright Israel, and part of the trip was funded by JUF.
When I worked for one of the Federation agencies, my position, and in fact, most of my department was funded by JUF. Of course, then it was easy to give to JUF, because ultimately it was supporting my own paycheck. The longer I worked in the Federation system, though, the more I got to meet a lot of people over at JUF headquarters and I found them to be great people that I could really trust and count on personally and professionally. Even though I don't count on JUF for a paycheck anymore, my experiences with the different staff members and executives I met have made me a believer in donating to JUF, for their benefit and for the benefit of those they serve.
This is the time of year where a lot of people and a lot of organizations are going to ask you to part with some of your Chanukah gelt to give to the greater good. I want to encourage you to keep JUF on your list of recipients. Many Oy! readers out there have given to JUF in the past and continue to give now. That is awesome and important. For those of you that have not had the chance to give yet, this year or ever before, consider giving. It will help make sure you get to read the next Oy! post and a whole lot more…