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Hundreds see start of Milwaukee, Madison campaigns
September 30th, 2012
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Madison launched their annual campaigns with events attended by hundreds of Wisconsin Jews.
Hannah Rosenthal speaking at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s “Celebration of Community” on Aug. 30.
On Aug. 30, some 300 people gathered at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center for the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s “Celebration of Community,” which among many other things inaugurated the MJF 2013 campaign.
On Sept. 9, more than 200 people gathered at the Full Compass Systems Headquarters in Madison for the 2012 Tzedakah Campaign Kick-off.
The climax of the Milwaukee event was the official presentation to the community of new MJF chief executive officer/president Hannah Rosenthal.
In remarks at the conclusion of the event, Rosenthal said she had not been to any other Jewish federation event anywhere “where there was standing room only,” and she congratulated the organizers of the event, which was chaired by Judy Guten and Sarah Hwang.
Rosenthal devoted most of her remarks to describing what she has learned about “how to truly make change and how to build community.” Moreover, “In my current position,” as U.S. State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, “I’m constantly looking forward to finding a way to translate these lessons to my people at home,” she said.
The photo provided by the Jewish Federation of Madison above shows Chicago mentalist Sidney Friedman (in foreground with microphone) during his performance for the Jewish Federation of Madison’s 2012 Tzedakah Campaign Kick-off.
“And then I learned about what you in Milwaukee are doing to re-imagine your future,” she said. “My first question was: ‘Are they serious about change?’”
“I’ve been to federations all over North America. I used to head a major, pivotal national organization that’s part of the federation system,” referring to her five years as executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. “Talking about changing is easy. But doing the necessary change is very hard.”
But Milwaukee “did something different from any other federation,” she said. “You listened to the old and to the young, to the religious and the secular, to the activists among you and to those that are not yet affiliated.”
“So what did the reimaging process say about what you all want for the future of the Milwaukee Jewish community?” she continued. “You want inclusivity, diversity, openness, community building, collaboration, and coalitions. You want support for Israel. You want outreach to young people. You want to confront stereotypes about who we are and ensure a safe, secure, and successful community. You want better formal and informal education.”
All of these are “exactly what I have been learning from Jewish communities all over the globe,” she said. “How exciting it is for me to be part of such a vibrant Jewish community that has created a vision for the near and the long term future.”
“We have to be the central address for helping the vulnerable,” Rosenthal said. “For allocating precious resources to our institutions. For reaching out to new people, for supporting our seniors, for engaging our youth, for convening the community, for putting our Jewish values into action, for making real the vision you have painting over this reimaging process.
“And this is a huge undertaking. But it is one this federation, this community is prepared for and ready for.”
In addition, the audience heard campaign chair Mitch Moser and Sharyl Paley, women’s campaign chair, speak about the campaign; honored MJF interim executive director and soon-to-be chief operations officer Sheryl Primakow and previous board chair Jerry Benjamin; and elected new officers, including new board chair Marlene Lauwasser.
The Madison event was planned by Dori Falk, JFM’s financial resource development director. According to JFM interim executive director Dina Weinbach in a Sept. 12 telephone conversation, campaign chair Jim Stein announced that the goal for the year would be $1,018,000. Last year, JFM raised a record amount of $1,002,777.
Chicago-based mentalist and musician Sidney Friedman performed and helped promote giving to the campaign “in a nice and gentle way,” Weinbach said.
Weinbach said that the next event in the Madison community’s campaign will be a “Tzedakah Sunday” telethon on Sunday, Oct. 14. This event will include an open house at the JFM offices from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and a raffle whose prizes include tickets to a Mattisyahu performance in Madison on Nov. 13.
The Madison campaign, Weinbach said, runs from September through December. JFM’s board meets to approve allocations in February; and the organization’s fiscal year begins March 1, she said.