Why I accepted the presidency

By: Suzanne Holwitt

This speech was given at Super Sunday on October 21.
What is the Jewish Federation of Broome County and why have I accepted the presidency? Well, JFed is our community, our family where our values of compassion, charity, responsibility inspire us to meet the needs of all of us, whether in caring for people in need or nurturing and sustaining our Jewish community.
In the iEngage program in which several of us participate, we learn/talk about the Judaism of Belonging and the Judaism of Becoming. Without going into lengthy explanations of those terms, I’d like to adapt these terms to explore the Federation of Belonging and the Federation of Becoming. All of us are part of the Federation of Belonging by virtue of our donations and by being a part of our Jewish community. However, the Federation of Becoming is a little different – it’s asking us to become involved – participate in events, in programs, in our larger Jewish community – in recognizing that each and every one of us, whether or not we’re active in any one of the synagogues or in the JCC or in the Federation or choose to sit on the sidelines, complement and complete each other. Our Jewish community is shrinking; we have little or no control over the demographics of our community, but we do have control over our reactions and our choices.
I have chosen to be more involved in the Federation by accepting the presidency. I am hoping that we can re-energize the committees so that all of us can feel that our voices are being heard, that the community will see JFed as an umbrella organization and not just for fund-raising, which we know is an important function.
The 2019 Campaign theme is “The Front Porch.” I fondly remember the front porch of the house in which I grew up in Long Beach, NY, especially in the summers when my grandparents lived with us. It was a wonderful place for people to sit, visit, listen to my grandfather’s stories – and the games we played. I love the front porch at my home here – feel free to stop by and visit. Let’s remember and share the stories of our growing up and our hopes for the future.
I’ve had many offers to help me as I begin my presidency, and I hope I can count on all of you here to help the continued revitalization of JFed and our Jewish community.