Lisa Galanti Rabinowitz and Lori Kagan Schwarz are ending a year of purpose and partnership as Co-Chairs of the Federation Board of Trustees. To say that they could not have imagined the challenges they would face together is an understatement at best. These talented women handled their roles with grace, grit, and flexibility in a time of unique stress and community need. We asked Lisa and Lori to reflect on their year of leadership below. We hope you will join us (virtually) at the 115th Annual Meeting, when we’ll thank them formally, for the love and commitment that carried all of us through this extraordinary year.
A year ago I eagerly anticipated connecting in person with Jewish Atlanta’s people, agencies, and organizations. Instead, we faced a wicked curveball. Specifically, the best-of-times responsibility, honor, and privilege to serve as Co-Chair of the Federation Board of Trustees collided with the worst of times as we isolated at home with disease, death, and uncertainty swirling mercilessly.
Yet, Federation could waste no time. The only path forward was to move in concert and with resilience to ensure the health and well-being of our Jewish people and 100+ Jewish Atlanta organizations.
Blessed with a communal cocoon and Federation’s sacred mission “To care for, connect, and strengthen Jewish communities throughout metro Atlanta, Israel, and the world,” the Zoom-Zoom of life took hold. Computer screens adorned with faces of servant leaders in little squares mobilized as indomitable sparkplugs to plow forward exuberantly and forcefully to do good and to do right. In return, and with transcendent spirit, YOU, our Jewish community, gave generously with time, wisdom, and wealth to care for, connect, and strengthen Jewish community.
Through the worst of times together Jewish Atlanta brought powerful grit, passionate purpose, and unyielding dedication every single day. Together we worked with resolve, ingenuity, and heart – united in the optimistic quest to thrive in the face of difficulty, as we have for centuries. And it was, therefore, the best of times.
While we begin to put this past year’s test of will behind us, let us also heartily celebrate with immense respect, abiding love, and great blessing how our Jewish Atlanta and Federation embody a conjoined heartbeat that keeps on giving. Here’s to continued good to come, even amidst life’s ever-present ebbs and flows. Onward and upward we grow together!
I am a bit of a data geek. It’s not the numbers per se that fascinate me; it’s the Federation stories behind them that reveal the character and promise of our community. In a year when the world felt like it was spinning out of control, the stories from across our Atlanta Jewish community were all the motivation I needed.
The $4.3 million raised for Federation’s Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund tells a tale of donors who came together with warp speed to care for seniors in solitude, struggling families, over-burdened Jewish institutions, and those in need of food and basic necessities.
A record of nearly 1,000 camp scholarships were awarded this year speaks to the magic of Jewish overnight camp and our community’s commitment to making camp affordable for so many.
Behind the seven Shinshinim who still came to Atlanta overcoming all of the COVID restrictions is a story about the unbelievably inspiring Israeli high school graduates taking a gap year in Atlanta before military service. Working long days in our day schools and synagogues, with our youth groups, and in our camps, the Shinshinim infuse our community with their passion and love for Israel.
These stories, and especially the people behind them — the volunteers, professionals, communal leaders, and donors — fill me with gratitude and hope.