Q: What is the mission of our Federation?
A: The Federations were established by the synagogue moments over a hundred years ago to chart a new course for the Jewish community: to improve the quality of Jewish life worldwide, nurture Jewish learning, care for those in need, rescue Jews in danger, and ensure the continuity of our people. We are committed to meet today's and tomorrow's challenges with a bold new model of Jewish community and philanthropy, a framework for new opportunities and new partnerships that will challenge the Jewish people to continue the traditions of education, leadership, advocacy, and responsibility that have inspired the world. Together we can perform mitzvot that individually we would be unable to do alone.
Q: What is a federation?
A: Federation is the heart and soul of North American Jewry's philanthropic and humanitarian activities. It embodies a 3,500 year old tradition of caring that goes back to the giving of the Torah and sustains us in the bold pursuit of Jewish community, Jewish values, and Jewish people. Federation is the people who care enough to want to perfect and imperfect world. Federation is the passion of commitment, where Tzedakah and a sense of social justice can make a difference in someone's life.
Q: What does the federation do?
A: Federation builds and strengthens Jewish community; from your own hometown to our homeland, from the homebound to the homeless, from the elderly Jews in Russia to North American teens discovering their birthright in Israel. Whether the task is reducing Jewish poverty and hunger, rescuing and resettling new immigrants, or spurring Jewish renaissance worldwide, federation is committed to seizing this moment in Jewish history to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people.
Q: What does the federation do compared to other Jewish organizations?
A: Federation is the one place that belongs to every Jew, the place where philanthropy, volunteerism and shared commitment come together to make a difference, to repair the world. As part of a continent-wide system, federation has the capacity to reach every Jew in need with a social-service network unparalleled in the world. These resources and the experience and reach of its two preeminent overseas partners - the Jewish Agency for Israel and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee - enable federation to bring life-sustaining caring to all Jews in need. And it brings North American Jews into direct, personal, meaningful partnerships with the people of Israel though many innovative programs. Among them: Partnership 2Gether to community programs and Birthright Israel providing free first-time trips to Israel for Jewish youth.
Q: What is the North American Jewish community's relationship to Israel?
A: A strong, secure Israel is the bedrock of the global Jewish community. Through our overseas partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, North America's federations have played – and continue to play -- a pivotal role in Israel's remarkable story of immigration, renewal and growth.
Q: Where does my money go?
A: Most your gift remains right in Des Moines, helping to strengthen our community, a premier provider of programs to safeguard and enhance Jewish life at home. A large percentage is allocated to our children's education, our senior adults with diminishing resources and who live in isolation, individuals and families in mental and financial distress and maintaining vigilance for the security against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in our local community while at the same time strengthens good interfaith relations. Part is used to meet Jewish urgent, ongoing humanitarian and social service needs of the global Jewish people, to encourage and support Jewish education and Jewish community, and to strengthening the relationship between North American Jews and the Israeli people.
Q: Can I designate where I'd like my money to go?
A: The Jewish Federation Annual Campaign is the primary means of meeting the ongoing needs of the Jewish community in central Iowa. In cooperation with local synagogues we perform the communal mitzvot of taking care of the elderly and needy through Jewish Family Services. We educate the majority of the communities Jewish children since 1965 in the Jewish Federation Community School where local rabbis and cantors teach classes cooperatively. The Jewish Community Relations Committee which represents broad membership from local and nearby communities is the appointed voice in the community on issues of public concern. The money you donate to the annual campaign is allocated by a committee of your peers to meet the current priorities. For opportunities for special gifts and designations please contact Executive Director Elaine Steinger at 515-987-0899.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: Federation is the place that builds community and you are the spark that builds federation. By volunteering, you can play a pivotal role in relieving an older person's hardships, affirm for a child the powerful values of Jewish tradition and continuity, and help others do the wonderful mitzvah of saving Jewish lives and Jewish life. Contact your federation at 515-987-0899 and express your particular interests.