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Federation Campaign Chairs and Directors Witness Dollars at Work Overseas

Twenty-four-year-old Sasha of Minsk, Belarus, told Federation leaders her life began the day she discovered she was Jewish.

Sasha of Minsk with Bob Berrin, General Campaign Chair

“What an incredible and emotional experience it was to meet Sasha,” said Bob Berrin, General Campaign Chair of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, while on The Jewish Federations of North America’s Campaign Chairs & Directors (CCD) Mission.

Sasha was 11 years old when she found out about her hidden Jewish identity. Since then, Sasha has immersed herself in the community by participating in Federation-supported Jewish summer camps, programs at her local JCC and by leading several Taglit-Birthright Israel trips for Minsk youth ages 18 to 26.

Berrin, along with Women’s Philanthropy Campaign Chair Sheree Savar, was inspired by Sasha and many others like her during the eight-day CCD Mission in July. Ninety-eight leaders and professionals from 34 communities saw the Federation network’s effort overseas come to life in Minsk and in Israel by visiting programs of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), World ORT and the Ethiopian National Project.

“Twenty years ago, who would have thought we would be able to say that Belorussian Jewish children would be so enthusiastic about their Judaism?” Berrin said. “All of us can be so proud of the impact our support of Jewish renewal programs has had on the survival and revival of these Jewish communities.”

For Savar, her visit to the Ethiopian Heritage Center in Israel was particularly moving. She had the opportunity to witness how Federation dollars directly impact the lives of Ethiopian families.

“At the center, new immigrant families are given apartments, study Hebrew and prepare for life as productive Israeli citizens,” Savar said. “Because of Federation, Ethiopian Jews are brought to Israel, where they practice their Jewish faith and advance Jewish life. This is what gives me hope for our future.”

Mission participants also visited sites that feed, educate and provide job skills to Jews in need; toured camps, cultural centers and leadership programs that build and strengthen Jewish life; and participated in workshops to help sharpen their ability to inspire others to participate in the work of Federation. Above all, the group connected with the people touched by Federation, whose stories they will tell to motivate others.

“We can all take such incredible pride in what we, as a collective Jewish community, have contributed to these efforts to improve the lives of Jewish people around the globe,” Berrin said.

“This trip taught me that the Federation/UJA Campaign is the backbone and driving force for all that we have accomplished and everything we strive for in the future,” Savar said.

The Annual Greater Miami Jewish Federation/UJA Campaign cares for Jews in need at home, in Israel and in more than 70 countries around the world. Click here to learn more about how your gift can make a difference.

To make a gift to the Annual Federation/UJA Campaign, click here.

The Mission of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is to mobilize human and financial resources to care for those in need, strengthen
Jewish life and advance the unity, values and shared purpose of the Jewish people in Miami, in Israel and around the world.

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