Part 2 ~ 2020 In Review: We Were Made for This

Here's part two of the Federation’s year in review. As I said last week, 2020 has been too much in many ways, and we’ve done too much to be contained in one or even two emails. Next week, we’ll finish with a fresh vision for the New Year.
2020 in Review: We Were Made for This
Though 2020 has been a year like no other, I am heartened by the courage, resourcefulness, and generosity demonstrated throughout our Jewish community. Resilience defined us in 2020, and it also will propel us forward. Yes, recent events have shaken us to the core, but your Federation has kept moving. And that’s what this email is all about. Here are some programmatic highlights and examples of the profound progress we’ve made in the middle of a pandemic. It just scratches the surface, but I invite you to take it in—and as before, forward this email to invite a friend or colleague to join us in this impactful work. 
We were made for this—to lead in times in crisis, to turn challenge into an opportunity, and that’s what we do best. The first step was the expansion of the Health Crisis management team we formed in March of 2020 with professional and lay leaders representing Jewish agencies and organizations in the greater Dallas area.
Next, we engaged Panoramic Strategy Consulting to partner in a comprehensive scenario planning process that is giving us the tools to respond more effectively to whatever comes our way. This rigorous community examination is also informing our funding process going forward and helping us recalibrate to empower the most impactful programs. Details on that to come, but here’ a taste of what your Federation is doing:
Hosting Community Briefings:
Connecting our Partner Agencies and Organizations with the Information, Funding, Training, and Advocacy Resources They Need
The Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) continues to assist our partner agencies and organizations identify powerful capacity-building and advocacy resources, as well as other support. Some examples:
  • Sharing an important update with our Health Crisis Management Team following a call with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Philip Huang, MD, MPH regarding increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and the urgency to reduce community spread
  • Informing our Jewish Federation partner agencies, synagogues, and day schools about grants, financial assistance, and other resources in serving clients and community members amid the public health crisis
  • Facilitating funding opportunities with the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) for transportation services for individuals with disabilities and/or older adults
  • Educating voters with special programs during this most recent election season
  • Hosting “JUST Conversations: From Civil Distress to Civic Engagement” in partnership with the DFW Urban League Young Professionals and the Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division (YAD) to educate and connect next-generation Dallas leaders through a multifaith and multicultural lens by diving into core social issues affecting our community
  • Contacting Texas members of Congress to advocate for increased federal funding for nonprofit security and protection against potential threats in collaboration with JFNA
To support the work of the Jewish Federation’s JCRC, click here
Engaging the Community around Jewish Education
Your Federation’s Center for Jewish Education (CJE) is leading the way in our education community, convening leaders and experts to provide invaluable insights into how to navigate the shifting learning landscape for educators, students and families during this unprecedented time. Key areas of focus include mental health issues, remote learning challenges, effective technology integration, and so much more. Recent programs include: 
  • The Tycher Library and the Israel and Overseas Division have collaborated to present a series of community “book club” events and programs highlighting our partnership region in Israel. For example, National Jewish Book Award finalist Diana Bletter shared her experiences as a Jewish woman in America and her inspiring journey to make Aliyah, as well as her choice to make her home in the Western Galilee
  • PJ Library hosted as a family evening on December 7 to honor the rituals of the Festival of Lights with a guided activity to create beautiful Hanukkah lanterns  
  • Our CJE is convening a series of stakeholder roundtables to share resources and challenges related to mental health awareness
Providing Insights from Experts for Professional Donor Groups
Your Federation offers exclusive access to thought leaders to explore and understand the most pressing issues facing our world, spanning medical, financial, legal, and other professional interests. Through these programs, we are expanding our role as a critical information resource as we also double down on our core mission to fund solutions to our community’s most pressing problems. As a result of our recent inclusive scenario planning process, we are reconsidering and rethinking how to make the most impact and to serve as the most effective steward of donor dollars. Based on what we have learned, we are leaning in and leaning on our Programs and Allocations Committee to identify, analyze, and prioritize as we move into 2021 and beyond. Here is a taste of recent programs:
  • On November 23, the Attorneys Division hosted a program for professionals in an innovative collaboration with “What’s New in Legal Ethics: The Professional Responsibility Challenges of Working Remotely” was a timely topic for the pandemic environment featuring Paul Genender, leads litigation partner, Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP. 
  • Our Healthcare Division provided an opportunity to say L’chaim on December 9. The virtual group had the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts from our dedicated healthcare workers working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Lauren Fine, emergency medicine, Baylor University Medical Center; Dr. Allan Shulkin, pulmonologist, Medical City Dallas, and Dr. Steven Davidoff, pulmonologist and critical care specialist, SW Pulmonary Associates of Plano were featured. Marshall Dawer, regional inpatient care medical director, United Healthcare, moderated.  
  • On December 9, Isaac “Bougie” Herzog, chairman of the executive, The Jewish Agency for Israel, joined our Pacesetter donors for a conversation around The Jewish Agency’s priorities for 2021—highlighting ways the Agency has pivoted during the pandemic with the support of the Federation.
Countdown Reminder: Light the Match until December 31, 2020
Have you done it yet? I will keep asking you that question until you do. Make a new or increased gift by December 31, 2020, and the Human Services Relief Matching Fund of the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) will match it at 50%. Our goal is $520,000. Help us get there by New Year’s Eve. We don’t want to forfeit $260,000 in matching dollars that could do so much good.
More than a century ago, your Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas was created by our community—for our community. And your involvement is essential, today more than ever. You make it all happen, and these stories are your stories. What will you tell your children and your grandchildren when they ask what you did for the world at this critical moment? You are in here in this time for a reason, helping create the future for generations.
Imagine what we can do together in 2021.
Shabbat Shalom,