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It has been pure joy to attend the in-person outdoor events that are gradually returning to the Federation calendar. Two weekends ago an amazing crew of BBQ pit masters, competing as Team Feederation, joined 18 other teams at the Atlanta Kosher Barbecue Festival at Brook Run Park. Thousands attended the festival and Team Feederation took first place in the chicken category!

Last week I attended two more in-person events — the launch of the new J-CREN (Jewish Commercial Real Estate Network) initiative and the Women’s Philanthropy Fall event. At both, there was a palpable sense of reunion and optimism as people came together for the first time in more than 18 months.

Talking to donors — and to “not-yet” donors — about the work Federation does, and the ways the community benefits from our work, sparks great conversations. Once someone understands our story and respects the strategy we’ve been pushing forward, they are eager to help us care for, connect, and strengthen our Jewish community

At the same time, it is humbling to encounter folks who know little about the resources and opportunities their Campaign gift empowers.

I am hearing that people are hungry to travel to Israel again. We are still hopeful that a 2023 Community Journey to Israel will happen, and we will share details as soon as we can.

I am hearing that people love the microgrants we’re giving to individuals and community groups who want to build community. The small but mighty grants of up to $200 have empowered friends and neighbors to build sukkahs, join together for community service, feed the hungry, and turn their neighborhoods into vibrant Jewish places.

People appreciate the culture shift in the way Federation engages with the community. They value our collaboration with the synagogues, camps, human services, and partner organizations that make up our Jewish ecosystem. They appreciate the priorities and the leadership that emanates from 1440 Spring Street.

At this moment of reconnection, I’m reminded that today would have been the birthday of my beloved sister Judy who passed away unexpectedly in 1978. Judy is the reason I went to Camp Barney Medintz and ultimately moved to Atlanta. She is the person who still fires my love for our city and our Jewish community. With Judy’s memory in mind, I am gratified to report that the 2022 Community Campaign is ahead of pace, at more than 32% of goal.

As always, I love to engage in good conversation about our community. Whether face-to-face, or by email, let me hear from you!