By Shelley Hubal
Wikipedia includes in its description of upstate New York the following: “A cheeky joke among Manhattanites is that anything north of 14th Street is ‘Upstate.’” I would also say that most people from New York City believe there are few Jews living upstate.
Last week, I traveled to Syracuse to attend a meeting with five other Jewish Federation directors from upstate New York, and I can say not only are there Jews “above 14th Street,” but there are several upstate Jewish communities that are thriving. I was impressed by the creative programming, fund-raising efforts and commitment to Israel that each of these directors bring to their region. (See the article on page 5 for coverage of the meeting.)
For the last three years, I have made it my mission to create a Jewish Federation that is compassionate and unified, and which has a commitment Jewish programming. I want Federation to be of service to the members of this community. We are no longer an organization that is solely out to fund-raise. That is an outdated stereotype, and I cringe when people think of Federation in that way. What I was delighted to learn at the meeting with my upstate counterparts is that they all share the same mission and vision. Sure, we all have to do fund-raising, but ultimately, each of these Federations are focused on making their Jewish communities stronger and more connected to Judaism.
Safety and security was discussed at length at the meeting. Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany have already begun to participate in the Jewish Federation of North America’s new LiveSecure program. This program includes a regional security coordinator and provides funding for equipment, training and assessments for all upstate New York, including Binghamton. In the coming months, I anticipate lots of work will be done behind the scenes to improve security for our region and I am pleased to say that Federation will lead the way in these efforts for our community.
Antisemitism is no longer something that is just in our history; unfortunately, it is on the rise at an unprecedented rate. When you increase your gift to the annual Campaign this year, you will be contributing to a more secure Binghamton. LiveSecure will match these funds and the dollars will go directly to improving security. I was thrilled to find out we are eligible for LiveSecure and I am appealing to each of you to consider increasing your gift for the 2023 Campaign. Every dollar counts and will help us all live a more secure life.
L’shalom, wishing you all a safe and peaceful end to summer.