We Stand Together, We Stand With Others

From the Desk of Heidi Gantwerk - President & CEO

Dear Friends, 

We are undoubtedly in a historic moment as the tragic, unthinkable war in Ukraine plays out before our eyes. The toll on innocent civilians is unbearable; the actions of ordinary Ukrainians are inspiring. Our Jewish values and sense of Peoplehood–of k’lal Yisrael–compel us to meet this moment—and we are.

Our national partners at Jewish Federations of North America already have raised more than $20 million through local federations toward emergency medical services, food and shelter, emergency aliyah, and more. Our San Diego Jewish community has contributed significantly to these vital efforts, almost $420,000 of which has come through contributions to Federation. These contributions from more than 500 families ranged from individual donations of $18 to a remarkable $75,000 gift from the Leichtag Foundation. We are also appearing on local news to explain to our broader community why the Jewish people have a special responsibility to help all Jews around the world. I am so proud of our community for standing together and giving so generously. You can contribute to these efforts here.

As we support Jews and other Ukrainians, we continue to meet dark forces here at home with bright light. Just last week we held a breakfast with clergy from around San Diego, representing all faiths and denominations. We stood together and declared our commitment to build understanding, open up avenues for dialogue, and stand together against antisemitism and all forms of hate and bigotry. Having these communal partners unabashedly on board with us is galvanizing. We are not alone. The San Diego Jewish community is stronger when we are openly supported by friends throughout the community, and when we, in turn, support them.

Breakfast with San Diego Clergy

Finally, I want to wish mazal tov to the winner and four finalists of the Michael Jeser Outstanding Jewish Professional Award. Lisa Motenko of Hillel of San Diego, the first winner of the award, and finalists Jordan Daniels of Leichtag Foundation, Carly Ezell Lobenstein of Federation, Sarah Greenstein of San Diego Jewish Academy, and Diana Stern of Lawrence Family JCC reflect the talent and vision that continues to create thriving, meaningful Jewish life in San Diego.

May we all see a more peaceful future soon. Shabbat Shalom.

Heidi Gantwerk
President & Chief Executive Officer

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