The Jewish Federation of Cleveland is the only organization in Cleveland that focuses on the health and vitality of the entire Jewish community. Zinner & Co. proudly partners with the Federation as a Silver Sponsor, to help provide vital services and support.
For more than 115 years, the Federation has created the critical scale necessary to drive meaningful social change and provide relief in times of crisis in ways no one person or organization could do alone. As Jewish Cleveland’s hub for innovative solutions and collaborative services, the Federation is able to change and improve lives in Cleveland, Israel, and around the world.
Their mission is to promote the well-being of their community, its members, and Jews throughout the world; enhance the continuity, security, and unity of the Jewish community; increase understanding of Jewish values and their application to improve people’s lives; encourage their members to fulfill the responsibility of tikkun olam, to make the world a better place; support Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; and promote collective action by individuals and organizations to advance these purposes.
The Federation has been extremely busy during the past 16 weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, assessing the needs of the community and beginning to address these needs.
They have focused on number of areas, including serving the most vulnerable, providing 4,000 meals a month for those facing food insecurity, assisting individuals who have lost their jobs, and providing more than 110 college students with meaningful internships.
Volunteer Chair of Community Relations Gregg Levine said the core value of “Tzedakah”, sometimes defined as charity, comes from the Hebrew word meaning righteous or social justice.
”During this pandemic, there have been enormous challenges where we are called upon to do all we can to support those in need,” he said. “We began by providing meals to students in schools, who could go hungry without their regular supported lunch plans. We then developed the COVID-19 Fund Distribution Committee to quickly respond to dire community needs and try to provide the tzedakah when possible.”
The pandemic did not just affect the community, it also affected the Federation.
“I am so proud of the leadership and the staff at the Jewish Federation. They quickly adapted to working from home and immediately began evaluating people, resources and community needs. They then realigned priorities and teams to make an immediate impact,” Levine said. “The community’s lay leadership and volunteers immediately jumped into action to contribute to the health and wellness of both the Jewish community and the general community.”
In addition, the Federation recognizes the importance of addressing systemic racism as a community, and are committed to doing more.
They are scheduling four Racial Equity and Inclusion Trainings for the Federation’s 100 employees and 100 board members, the leadership and staff of 15 beneficiary agencies, and the Jewish community at large.
Additionally, they are partnering with the YWCA of Greater Cleveland to engage in a community-wide 21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge. The challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege and leadership.
In early March, the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation took on the YWCA 21 Day Challenge, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the state and before the murder of George Floyd.
The committee learned and shared experiences together while the world around them dramatically changed.
Now, they are expanding the experience and will be offering the opportunity for the entire Jewish community to partake in the challenge.
“We all need to be educated about the facts of history,” said Levine. “We all need to know the reality of today’s statistics nationally and locally. We all need to understand about systemic racism and how to be an anti-racist. Before one can really advocate for change, one needs to be educated.”
Click here to learn more about the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.