As I reflect on this year and celebrate our 112th year of collective efforts in supporting Jewish Dallas, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the volunteers and professionals who comprise the community that we serve and love.
On behalf of the entire Federation professional team, I extend a heartfelt thank you to our outgoing Board Members, lay leaders, committee members, and volunteers. Your service and dedication have paved the way for generations of volunteer leaders in this community, serving as the Dugma (example) to future leaders of Jewish Dallas, including those graduating from Torah Day School, Ann and Nate Levine Academy, Akiba Yavneh Academy, and other Jewish institutions supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.
Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas (JFGD) remains steadfast in ensuring the security of Jewish Dallas and creating a safer environment, including at schools and synagogues. Through our dedicated efforts, regular updates, advocacy alerts, and funding opportunities, JFGD provides resources and implements measures to protect our community and foster peace of mind. JFGD helped secure over $1.2 million in federal security funds and FEMA grants, benefiting multiple Jewish Dallas agencies. JFGD conducts thorough security assessments and maintains a community-wide communication platform to effectively manage potential threats. Additionally, JFGD has established a neighborhood patrol system, collaborating with 14 agencies and six key religious institutions, which involves off-duty police officers during holidays. These efforts provide invaluable peace of mind, allowing our community members to live and worship without fear.
JFGD also makes dedicated efforts toward countering antisemitism through community relations and civic engagement. At our annual Interfaith Seder, 400 community members of all faiths gathered at a synagogue to learn about the Jewish faith, people, and community. In Austin, we successfully advocated for additional funding to help meet the growing security needs of our community, with the Texas State Legislature approving $2 million dollars for the next biennium to supplement FEMA grants. At the local level, JFGD leadership played a pivotal role in the City of Dallas adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism through the significant work of the Dallas Mayor’s Anti-Hate Advisory Council.
In addition to our commitment to safety and security, our city has had the privilege of hosting significant national conferences, co-sponsored by JFGD. These conferences, including BBYO's 99th International Convention (IC), the annual Hillel International Global Assembly (HIGA) celebrating Hillel’s 100th year, and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) & Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) Joint Annual Conference, provide platforms for Jewish adult and youth empowerment. Hosting three national conferences in Dallas in less than a year demonstrates the city's commitment to the Jewish community. They showcase Dallas as a vibrant hub for networking, learning, and Jewish advocacy, promoting an inclusive environment for growth and empowerment.
Emphasizing our commitment to security, the importance of hosting national conferences, and our efforts in combating antisemitism the JFGD continues to play a vital role in creating a strong and vibrant Jewish community.
JFGD is blessed with over 200 active volunteers who worked tirelessly on behalf of Jewish Dallas this year. I want to especially thank and express my sincere gratitude to the outgoing Chairman of the Board, Bill Finkelstein. Thank you, Wild Bill Finkelstein!
President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas