“Tonight gives us the opportunity to celebrate real accomplishment by the UJF,” said its chair, Daniel Shapira.
The meeting’s first task was approving the new trustees for the coming year. Barbara Burstin, who also received the Emanuel Spector Memorial Award during the night, led the process that went smoothly. Shapira will stay on as chair for another year.
Shapira used his speech to talk about the past year and the year ahead. He highlighted some key strides that the UJF had made, including $200,000 from Mellon Bank.
“Just 40 years ago Jews couldn’t borrow money from Mellon,” he said. “When you think of what has changed, we have a lot to be proud of.”
In 2007, Shapira noted, the UJF raised more money than ever before, bringing in over $31 million.
However, he said some challenges facing the UJF and Jewish life down the road — especially amongst the younger Jewish generations. “This year we will create a Jewish Foundation for education and continuity,” Shapira said, “funded with millions of dollars to work on the challenges we face.”
With the country in a shaky economic crisis, Shapira said the UJF must work harder to raise money. But it was reported that the 2009 campaign had already raised $2.25 million.
UJF President and CEO Jeffrey Finkelstein said that while all the money is a great thing for the UJF, the organization is about people.
“Everything we do at the UJF is about people, not the dollar,” he said before presenting Community Day Head of School Avi Baran Munro with the Doris and Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award.
“These busy individuals give up their time to make this a better place,” he said.
(Mike Zoller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)