Update from Jan Goldstein

It happens every year: As the last beautiful days of summer come to a close, the kids go back to school, the Jewish holidays are upon us with all the preparation of food, family and friends, and we know what’s next… The launch of the Omaha Jewish Federation Annual Campaign, of course!

What? Again? Already? Didn’t we just give to that? 

The reaction is always the same, and yes, it’s that time again.

October 2, 2022 marks the Kickoff Event of our Omaha Jewish Federation 2023 Annual Campaign at Temple Israel. Of course, we hope to see as many of you there as possible. However, if you aren’t able join us to hear about the wonderful things happening today in our community, you’ll still have the opportunity to learn about what’s going on in Jewish Omaha – to step up, get connected, and offer your support.

Year after year, a special group of dedicated men and women who generously volunteer their time (as well as some new additions to this cohort), do the work of contacting our supporters to update them on what’s happening on the Staenberg Kooper Fellman Campus and around our community, to explain where their campaign dollars go, and to ask for the critical contributions which enable us to do the business of today. We are extremely grateful to these individuals, and for the hours they devote to contacting and meeting with community members in order to make the heartfelt requests on behalf of all of us who also benefit from the myriad of services and programs we enjoy by living in our generous community. These volunteers also do work on our behalf, by fulfilling Omaha’s commitment as a Jewish community to help other Jews in need, in Israel, and in more than 60 countries throughout the world.

Why do they do it?

They do it because they know that when they are having that Jewish conversation, it’s not just between the two people in the room or on the phone. They know that when they reach out to someone and ask “Would you please consider giving your gift again this year?” they are actually asking on behalf of all of those faceless individuals who will be the beneficiaries of that conversation. 

It could be the boy or girl who benefits from a scholarship to a Jewish camp whose parents might not otherwise be able to afford this kind of Jewish youth experience. Or it might be that elderly community member still living on their own, receiving regular home visits and hot meal delivery as part of our Jewish Senior Outreach program. Maybe it’s that one conversation that will provide more resources for financial assistance for a young family to help send their child to the JCC Early Learning Center, which will, in turn, launch them all on a trajectory of connection to Omaha Jewish life that might not otherwise have developed.

Why do they do it?

They do it because they understand that the Annual Campaign is the lifeblood of the Jewish Community. Does it fund everything? Absolutely not! Certainly, we are so very blessed here to have the many other critical resources that sustain the services and programs throughout the Federation, Foundation, Synagogues and many other organizations in Omaha. However, it’s the Annual Campaign that provides the structure for maintaining the continuity for our Federation and its agencies, connecting us as a community, and bringing together the more than 8,000 individuals we call Jewish Omaha.

This year’s campaign theme is THE STRENGTH OF A PEOPLE, THE POWER OF COMMUNITY. There is no question where our strength lies.

Albert Einstein once said, “Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.”

Let 5783 be a good year for all – a year that we both give and receive.


Wishing you and your family L’ Shanah Tova,
Jan Goldstein
Programming and Campaign Consultant