One of the more difficult but often meaningful conversations that occurs within families concerns the legacy that parents will leave to their children and grandchildren and the material value of any inheritance that might be distributed. Each family sets its own criteria as to who is eligible to benefit from the family inheritance and who is not. A similar question is raised in this week's Torah portion, Pinchas, that tells the story of Zelophehad, who died without a male heir. At that time, only male children were eligible to inherit property from their deceased parent. Zelophehad's five daughters challenged this custom and appealed to Moses, who brought their question directly to G-d. G-d affirmed the daughters' claim and ordered that forevermore, daughters would be able to inherit their fathers' land: a victory for them and a victory for gender equality.
It is also a lesson for us today. We are all eligible to benefit from what has been left to us by earlier generations. The collective legacy of our Greater Hartford Jewish community extends far beyond the material gifts for which we are so grateful. We have inherited a community steeped in tradition, with strong and enduring values that drive our desire to care for the needy, pursue social justice, support our Jewish homeland in Israel and ensure that our children receive the highest quality education.
Today, greater numbers of people recognize the need to thoughtfully plan their legacy and are incorporating ethical wills into their estate planning portfolios. Leaving tangible things such as money and property does not capture the essence of who we are, what we believe, the values we live by and how we wish to be remembered.
Our successful Aim Chai initiative with the Jewish Community Foundation was an amazing start in building the "inheritance" we will collectively leave to future generations. We are so very grateful for the annual support we receive, but our long-term survival as a Federation and as a community is dependent on long-lasting commitments made through endowments and legacy funds.
We would welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with you about how you can make an enduring impact in our Jewish community for years to come. You can be part of a legacy that will benefit our community in ways we may not yet be able to appreciate. And you will be proud that you made a difference and will continue to make a difference forever!
President and CEO