Gratitude and Action: Coming Together to Do Good

When you support Federation, you help us directly support the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and their important work helping Jewish people all around the globe. Thank you for all that you do.

By Rebecca Neuwirth, Director of Strategic Engagement and a Senior Development Officer at JDC.

As we prepare for Passover, I want to call out some people in the JDC orbit whose actions seem to put into practice so much of what Passover is about.

My friends Ron Burton and Steve Silverman set off a month ago to help underprivileged children in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union attend a most amazing summer camp — run by JDC and located in Szarvas, Hungary. They feel there is no better investment in Jewish children and future than this place that, during the precious days of summer, serves as mother, father, friend, teacher, and mentor for kids who hail from towns and cities still devastated by World War II and communism and its aftermath.

These kids go home to a Herculean task: recreating Jewish life from the ground up. The network, knowledge, and inspiration they get at Szarvas is literally the battery that powers that mission — which lies on their young shoulders, with our support.

With passion, persistence, and the amazing stories of how this camp has changed individual lives of campers and recreated Jewish possibilities in the region, Ron and Steve made meaningful gifts and then shared the opportunity to make such a tangible difference with their families and friends.

The response has been amazing — dozens of gifts, pledges to match and leverage funds, a sense of shared drive and ... accomplishment. To date, we have new funding for more than 32 young people to attend camp this summer — and close to 40 new donors to JDC, who are equally passionate about doing good and beginning to understand what an incredible vehicle this organization is for people who want to make meaningful and tangible change in the world.

The campaign runs through Passover. If you'd like to participate in honor of the holiday, with its message of gratitude for all we have and of recognition of all that we can do for others, visit

In the coming months, several amazing people with whom I have the privilege of working will be founding small, active groups to support and build other life-changing projects:

  • the singularly wonderful Bálint Ház JCC in Budapest
  • the Jaffe Jewish Family Service, which delivers lifesaving help to Jewish children and elderly in dire need of food and material aid 
  • and our new Mozaik HUB, which identifies, trains, and supports the most innovative young adults in the Hungarian Jewish community as they create new and inspired programs to bolster Jewish life and leadership

A sweet and meaningful Passover to you and your loved ones. And thank you for your caring!

— Rebecca


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