I began my Jewish education in the late 1980s, and after learning about and living a Jewish life for several years, I became a Jew by Choice in the early 1990s. When I made the commitment to convert, it was with an encompassing love, warmth, and responsibility to the Jewish people. One concept resonated with me: “If Jews don’t support Jews, who will?”
When I was growing up, my family did not have a lot of money, but my parents and grandparents taught me to give as you are able in order to make a difference for causes in which you believe. If you could not offer financial support, then help by volunteering. I worked as a critical care nurse for more than 30 years, and many times I was volunteering full-time as well. I have found gratification in contributing my time and, as I have accrued the financial ability, I have been pleased to make philanthropic donations as well. I feel it is the right thing to do.
I have been involved with many Jewish organizations. At JEWISHcolorado, I have served in various capacities, as a donor, solicitor, and volunteer. Currently, I am again serving on the Women’s Philanthropy Committee. I have been a member and chair of that committee in the past, and I also have been a member of Allocations (Planning & Grant Making), Planned Giving and Endowment Committees, and I co-chaired CHOICES.
I give to JEWISHcolorado because I don’t know all the Jewish organizations locally or world-wide. Many are in need of financial assistance, and I believe JEWISHcolorado and Jewish Federations of North America have the expertise to know where the needs are and where the funds can best be used locally, nationally, and internationally. When I served on the Allocations Committee, we would visit organizations that were under consideration for grants. We would get to know about them, and I remember being surprised because I would never have known about the good work these organizations were doing, had I not been involved with this process.
I don’t give because any one individual asks but because, from experience, I know the money I am giving is being used for the overall welfare of Jews everywhere. I trust that JEWISHcolorado will ensure that the organizations under their umbrella will be sustained.
Giving energizes and enriches me. The concept of tzedakah is more than giving money—it is showing compassion, empathy, fairness, and justice, all vital aspects of Judaism.
In 2004, I endowed my Lion gift, so even when I am gone, I will continue to make an impact. I am pleased that JEWISHcolorado will get my contribution in perpetuity to help future generations. I want to see the long Jewish history of religion, culture, and identity continue l’dor v’dor.