The dollars we raise through the annual Federation Campaign provide food, medicine and heating oil for the elderly Ukrainian Jew who must stretch a $14 stipend to cover all expenses for a month. The dollars we raise give an Israeli teen from a dysfunctional family a second chance at engaging with society instead of roaming the streets looking for drugs. The dollars we raise help a physically handicapped child work toward his potential and reach for his dreams.
The words and pictures are inspiring. They draw tears to our eyes and pull at our heartstrings. But words and pictures can’t tell the whole story. When we visit the places where our dollars send a Russian child to camp or support an Ethiopian family as they make the transition from the simple agrarian life of the tiny African town where they were born to the high tech life of Jerusalem or Haifa, each story touches ours soul and becomes part of us.
For the Jewish communal professional, it renews our commitment to our work and gives us the tools to inspire others.
Earlier this month, the Jewish Community of Louisville’s vice president and chief development officer, Stew Bromberg, participated in the Campaign Chairs and Directors Mission. He spent four days in Odessa, Ukraine, and four days in Israel.
Along the way, he kept a journal, recording his experience – the sights and sounds, the friendships and the personal stories he heard.
“Take the land of the future, view it through the lens of the past, and create a vibrant community of the present,” he wrote as he began his tale. “I woke up at 3 a.m. on day three with this thought in my mind. I had to get up and write it down before falling back asleep. I couldn’t risk forgetting this. I will return to this thought later, but let me start at the beginning…”
To read Stew’s tale from the beginning, go to our newspaper, where his journal will be posted in installments, approximately once every two weeks.
Take the journey with him; discover the beauty of the places he visited and the importance of the work we do as we change people’s lives. Celebrate the knowledge that, together, we really do extraordinary things.