Building Upon Past Successes; Meeting Future Needs
By Jill Hagler, Executive Director

December 2011

These remarks were made during the 71st Annual Meeting on November 13, 2011

With the advent of a new President and new Executive Director, this has been year of transition while also building upon the successes of past years and creating a vision for tomorrow.    Kathy Blumenfeld, it has been such a pleasure working with you this past year and I will truly miss our weekly chats. Yasher Koach to Debbie Minkoff on your election as President.  I am looking forward to working with you this coming year in your new role. 

It has been said that the true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.  Since 1940, the leaders of the then called Madison Jewish Community Council did just that.  Their collective vision has helped to secure the vibrant Jewish community that exists in Madison today. 

And it is the many years of hard work and cultivation that resulted in our community’s unprecedented accomplishment of surpassing our 2010 campaign goal of $1 million.  Mazel Tov to Jim Stein, Bobbie Lazarz, Steve Morrison and our Financial Resource Development committee for your incredible leadership and hard work.  It was a privilege to accept the 2010 Sapir Award on your behalf at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly. 

This type of success doesn’t happen by accident and as they say, “it takes a village,” not only to raise a child but also to raise the funds necessary to provide for our Jewish community locally, in Israel and around the world.  You, the members of our community, are our village. 

Thanks to your support, our commitment remains strong to our educational programming. Through quality Jewish education programs such as the Hilde L. Mosse Gan HaYeled Preschool, Midrasha Hebrew High School and Chug Ivrit, over 200 children this past year were given the tools they needed to begin building strong Jewish identities.  Camp Shalom served over 1,000 children this summer, representing various religions, ethnicities and levels of physical ability.  Thanks to the generous support of so many corporations, organizations, foundations and individuals, over $101,000 was raised in scholarships, changing the lives of 98 children.

As we continue to build our community, the seeds we plant today are sure to bear abundant fruit in the coming years, welcoming more Jews into our Federation family and expanding our good work to help more people in need. 

We will also continue to create opportunities for involvement and engagement through programming that will meet the needs and interests of such groups as young families, business and professional leaders, women, and baby boomers/empty nesters. 

New initiatives such as the Jewish Business and Professional Roundtable, chaired by Jon Eckhardt and Eric Schwartz, our Women’s Heart to Heart Mission to Israel, chaired by Diane Seder and Marla Gamoran, Passport to Jewish Life and other adult education programs will hopefully result in increased participation in the Federation.  Stay tuned for more information this coming year.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To laugh often and much...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

I look forward to working with all of you this coming year and building upon our successes!