By Marc Merklin
Annual Campaign Chair
The Akron Jewish community continues to be powered by high energy and continued and greater involvement by its younger members and leaders. The new clergy that haven taken positions over the last year or so at both Temple Israel and Beth El Congregation have brought and inspired excitement and energy, too. Combined with the active involvement and programming at Anshe Sfard/Revere Road Synagogue, the environment for Jewish life in our community has the opportunity to achieve even higher levels.
The synagogues’ efforts are also supported and enhanced by the efforts of The Lippman School, Jewish Family Service and the Shaw JCC to provide a sustained and continuous source of Jewish life and Jewish education for the community. Whether it has been the J-Ticket offered through the Jewish Community Board of Akron, which offers young families a “bundle” of services for participation in the Jewish community, or the Jewish Leadership Initiative (JLI), in which dozens of our young Jewish community leaders are learning to be involved in the Jewish community and integrated into Jewish leadership, the future for Akron’s Jewish community continues to look bright. In this sense, “climate change” for Akron has been positive.
The sustainability of these recent efforts must be fueled by continued contributions in support of our Annual Campaign. It is the dollars from Campaign that fuel and provide the raw energy for the programming and support of the agencies and their programs in the greater Akron area. While we have had continued success in our Campaign, it is clear that we are continuing to rely on a relatively small number of donors for a greater and greater percentage of the Annual Campaign. Our most active and established donors are continuing to age and retire.
While some of our younger members are enthusiastic and now support the campaign, it is the more established community members that have really been the backbone of the fundraising efforts for the last several years. We truly appreciate the efforts of these donors and are so proud of their contributions to the community. But given the momentum from the emerging, younger members of our community and the new programing, we must ask our community to dig even deeper to assist us in these efforts. So this year, as we ask you to consider a slight increase in your campaign pledge, we do so knowing that it is important in order to sustain efforts that have begun in our community to enrich and enhance Jewish life.
Let’s continue the positive “climate change” in Akron’s Jewish community by enhancing Annual Campaign. Even on these coming winter days, as cold as we might find ourselves in terms of temperature, we hope that the climate in Akron will be that of a warm and enriching community, support and sustained by its members in order to provide continued service to all. Please consider continuing to support the Jewish Community Board of Akron’s Annual Campaign, and to the extent of your means, please consider a small increase in your contributions to help fuel our efforts to sustain a warm and thriving community.