It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s Annual Campaign. I am entering my second year as your chair, and I have loved every minute of it! In fact, I love my work with Federation so much, I thought I’d share with you some thoughts about what Judaism says about love and how it relates to our Jewish Federation Campaign.
The concepts of love and kindness have been a part of Judaism since the very beginning. In Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of the Sages, we learn that the world is based on three things: on study, on service to G-d, and on acts of loving kindness. The Talmud tells us that acts of loving kindness are greater than tzedakah, or charity, because acts of loving kindness can be done for both the poor and the rich and for both the living and the dead – and they can be done with money or deeds.
Tradition tells us to love both Jews and non-Jews, to give charity to those in need, and not to wrong anyone in business. In fact, the act of loving kindness is so much a part of our tradition that the word mitzvah – which actually means “commandment” – is almost always used to mean “good deed.”
And, most importantly, directly from our Torah comes the passage “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).
How blessed are we to have a blueprint from G-d and our ancestral leaders on the importance of loving kindness? And, how blessed are we to have a Jewish Federation that follows this blueprint with a full heart?
I know that we spend much of our time agonizing over how we are going to raise enough money to keep our Jewish community strong. I know that often, people only think of Federation as a fundraising organization. But every penny we raise goes to supporting acts of loving kindness, supporting vulnerable Jews and non-Jews all over the world. Every penny we raise is invested in Jewish life, in Jewish education, in our Jewish elderly, in Israel, in social action, in social justice, in Jewish youth and much more. We proudly do it all.
I invite you all to participate with our Jewish Federation and in our campaign. This is your opportunity to support acts of loving kindness all day, every day.
With love and gratitude,
Ann Baidack Pava
2017 Vice Chair, Annual Campaign