One month ago today, I began the next step in my 28-year career in Jewish communal service by becoming JEWISHcolorado’s Senior Director of Design Philanthropy. For 28 years, I have been engaged in strengthening Jewish life. On behalf of the Federation system, I have lived and worked in Kiev, Mumbai, Budapest, and Jerusalem, sharing wealth and good intentions from Jews in Colorado and all over the world. The hugs, the thanks that I have received and the feelings of pride and satisfaction of our collective work on behalf of Jews in need and our brethren in Israel, has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.
Landing at JEWISHcolorado as a fundraiser is only fitting. I can still remember Faina, the first elderly Jewish woman who I visited at home in Kiev in 1994. I cried after that visit but to this day, I feel such pride that our collective system created a food delivery system, a home care system and a network of local Jewish community organizations so that Faina could live as a Jew, connected to community, in relative dignity, at a time and in a place where dignity was rare.
Today I sit in my JEWISHcolorado office overlooking the JCC. I recently served as the Secretary of Jewish Family Service. My daughter is a 6th grader at Denver Jewish Day School. Each of these organizations are seminal to a well-rounded Jewish community and are strengthened as a result of our collective dollars. Having a strong organization focused on community-wide needs, and strategic solutions, is a key to the power and of our community. I am particularly passionate about building our endowment because the endowment is the key to our future.
Our Torah portion, Eikev, reminds of the imperative to teach our values to our children. If we want our children and grandchildren to understand the significance of a Jew from Colorado providing for an impoverished elderly woman in Ukraine, if we want our children to feel connected to Israel and its people, if we want to put our Jewish values into action on behalf of others, to be a light unto the nations and help people in need, we must come together as a community, and act as a community. We are simply stronger together.
It is my honor to continue to serve the Jewish community. It reflects the best of our past and the promise of our future.
I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible and may we all go from strength to strength.
Senior Director of Design Philanthropy
Please email Jen Kraft at JKraft@JEWISHcolorado.org with comments or questions.