Written by: Alex Shapiro
Motivated by the Jewish tenants of Chesed and Tzedakah – compassion and generosity – and a love for travel, 17 Utah Federation Donors embarked for a weeklong mission to Russia on October 12, 2019. While there, the group was immersed in many historical sights and experiences in St. Petersburg and Moscow. In addition, the trip highlighted the ongoing partnership between the Jewish Federation of Utah and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Sharing a long-standing commitment to caring for Jews wherever they are in the world and specifically meeting the needs of those in overseas Jewish communities, the mission provided the opportunity to see first-hand, the people and programs that are being impacted through the generosity of Federation donors.
The group was inspired through its personal and face to face meetings with teens, young adults and seniors it met in both communities. Whether they were part of programs that help the vulnerable, ensure the well-being of the elderly, inspire connection to Jewish identity or motivate young adults to lead and revitalize the Jewish community, the impact that Federation resources have on so many was ever-present. Using the knowledge and organization of the JDC – the largest Jewish Humanitarian agency in the world – the group was able to better understand how to best leverage our financial resources to save Jewish lives and build Jewish life. The result of this is the exciting news that this special group of 17 travelers raised an additional $30,000 which will be directed to some of the wonderful programs that change the lives of all the amazing people that were met during the week.
The most gratifying piece of the journey was the personal friendships that were made and enhanced through our shared experiences. The strength of a people, the power of community…the following epitomize this and I thank them for sharing the journey and for all they do: Arline & Joel Beckoff, JoAnn Goldman & Phil Collins, Amy & Ken Goodman, Dganit Herzig Slovik, Joelle Kanshepolsky, Carol & Ted Levy, Elissa and Bill Oshinsky, Jodie and Barry Sobel, Julie Wolfe and Michel Wolfe.