To be Jewish means that each of us somehow participates in the healing of the world – in tikkun olam. We might not think of ourselves that way, but look around, and you will see that Jews participate in their communities perhaps to a greater degree than any of our neighbors. It’s part of us – inbred, almost.
Jews serve on the boards of charitable organizations, of community projects, of their synagogues and their religious schools. They attend lectures, serve as mentors, school aides and sports coaches in great numbers.
And they support institutions such as their synagogues and Jewish Federation of Greater Cincinnati and the institutions it supports.
I recently retired after 46 years as an attorney who focused much of his practice on estate planning. I always suggested that my clients consider charitable giving as part of their estate plans, and invariably, it was my Jewish clients who responded most enthusiastically.
And now, Jewish Federation, through its Create Your Jewish Legacy (CYJL) campaign, is calling on the community to help it build a strong and permanent endowment, which will provide a new source of sustainability for the institutions that make up our Jewish community. Federation has helped so many groups that when the campaign was started, Anita and I immediately jumped in with our commitment to include Create Your Jewish Legacy in our estate plan.
We have earmarked our commitment for Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati, one of the organizations participating in CYJL, because I have been active in cemetery work for almost 20 years. But there are many other organizations participating in the campaign to which you can have your legacy gifts directed. Or you can even designate another organization that is not participating in CYJL.
But I urge you to consider an addition to your estate plan, as we have, to leave a gift to Jewish Federation of Greater Cincinnati, whether it is earmarked or not. (Of course, if you haven’t also made provisions for your synagogue, this is a good time to consider that, as well, and many synagogues are participating in CYJL.)
Why should we do this? Because it’s what Jews do. They participate in their communities financially, as well as tangibly. And a legacy gift to Federation is an excellent way to provide for final gifts to the institutions that have made Cincinnati’s Jewish community so strong.
After all, Judaism is an active verb.