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7.31.15 Issue

by Annette van de Kamp-Wright, Editor, Jewish Press

Campaign Chairs Jan Goldstein and Howard Kooper are used to operating “on all cylinders” and to date, that’s exactly what’s happening as they immerse themselves in their leadership roles for the 2016 Campaign.

“For the Campaign this year you will see something that is nothing short of a community-wide effort,” Jan said. “We will be talking to community members about truly engaging in Jewish Omaha, whether as a donor, volunteer or program participant, or, even better, all three.  We have a wide array of things planned; we want there to be something that speaks to everyone.”

PrintThe Community event, Campaign Cabaret, on Oct. 11 is one such example. A whole host of impassioned people with a love of performance and entertaining are helping to put on a wonderful cabaret-style variety show, reminiscent of the very successful 1986 and ’87 Campaign Cabarets. Jan and Howard believe that it is the kind of event that encapsulates everything great about Jewish Omaha.

“It was inspirational. You left Cabaret feeling good about our community,” Howard has said. “Community happens when we all get involved and nothing involved people of all ages, abilities and interests like Campaign Cabaret.”

“We love the new ideas and spin on things that staff and lay leaders bring to the face of Campaign. It’s ok to bring back previous successes as long as we have an eye to the future and it makes sense in 2015. We believe strongly that many ideas and practices from the past are worth keeping.”

Jan continued, excitedly, “In addition to Cabaret, we will be invigorating Omaha’s long history of successful community missions with a Women’s Mission to Jewish Europe in October, chaired by Kimberly Robinson. Nothing is more powerful and impactful than traveling overseas to witness, first hand, the vibrant Jewish life thriving, in part, because of our Campaign dollars. Kimberly was right on the mark when she realized, after community teens went on the March of the Living in Eastern Europe, that it was time to arrange a trip for adults, too.”

“We are finding a happy medium,” Jan said, “between Jewish values, hopes and dreams for our children, a collective Jewish memory, and our responsibility to one another. We are part of a larger, global family. That is why we go to Eastern Europe. We create awareness of that global family. Part of being Jewish is taking care of each other.”

Also new to the Annual Campaign this year is the Kehilla Cup Challenge, a “sports-style” competition that pits teams of Campaign solicitors in a friendly race for a good cause. Adapted from a similarly successful model in a small, southeastern Federation, the teams of volunteers will choose “draft” cards (prospective donors) and teams score points for reaching a wide variety of “goals”. Commissioner Brian Nogg will lead the teams to victory and award Omaha’s first Kehilla Cup!

“Much like fantasy football, this concept appeals to a wide age and demographic range. Anyone  can participate and we promise lots of fun and good sportsmanship,” said Howard. “Much more information is coming in the weeks ahead.”

To find out more, contact Chief Development Officer Steve Levinger at or 402.334.6443.

Listening to Jan and Howard, it becomes clear the Annual Campaign is about so much more than opening our collective wallets.

“Of course, raising funds is important,” Jan said. “The obligation to give is a happy obligation. We get back more than we give. But we have to remember why we are raising those funds. It’s for our community, for our children, our families here in Omaha, our extended family here in America and in countries throughout the world. The Campaign has to be exciting, relevant and energetic. We have to do this together. It simply has to be a community effort.”