SPRINGFIELD – Tradition, ritual, language, history. These are all things that bind a community together. They are the legacy handed down from generation to generation. They tell us who we are, where we come from, and help determine where we are going.
Regardless of how these stories are told, it is important to share them today and record them for tomorrow. According to Professor Justin Cammy, who has created Legacy gifts for Lander Grinspoon Academy, Congregation B’nai Israel and Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, “There are such things as duty and responsibility and that has to do not only with your immediate community, but to communities that have existed past, present and future. It is our responsibility to continue to forge that link.”
The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Western Massachusetts (JEF) has embarked on a project to do just that.
The JEF has begun to record the stories of its donors – sharing why they give their time and talents to support the Jewish community and why they have made a provision for a legacy gift. Some of these stories can be seen on the Book of Life page of the JEF website, www.jefwesternmass.org. A small sample of new recordings can be found on YouTube (yes, we “YouTube”) at http://youtube/0wYYNKSwQdA. It’s also searchable by title, “2013 Create a Jewish Legacy Promotion.”
In addition to collecting these digital chronicles of Jewish legacy, the Endowment Foundation is creating a Book of Life album with artwork created by Amy Fagin of 20th Century Illuminations. The new Book of Life album will be unveiled on Sunday, Oct. 20 at a recognition event to be held at Mill 1 at Open Square in Holyoke. The featured speaker is Jason Franklin, executive director of Bolder Giving. Franklin is an activist for increasing the role of charitable giving in everyone’s life. His organization is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The event is open to all legacy donors who have made a commitment to one or more of the 19 organizations participating in the Create a Jewish Legacy Program. The participating organizations are: Beit Ahavah the Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton, Congregation B’nai Israel, Congregation B’nai Torah, Congregation Sons of Zion, Greater Springfield Chapter of Hadassah, Heritage Academy, Hevreh of the Southern Berkshires, Hillel at University of Massachusetts, Jewish Community of Amherst, Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Jewish Geriatric Services, Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, Rachel’s Table (a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts), Sinai Temple, Springfield Jewish Community Center, and Temple Beth El. Those present at the event will have the opportunity to sign the newly unveiled Book of Life album.
Jewish Endowment Foundation is a division of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Create a Jewish Legacy of Western Massachusetts is a joint program of the Jewish Endowment Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
For more information regarding either the dinner at Mill 1, recording your story, or creating your own Jewish legacy, contact Scott Kaplan at (413) 732-9994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.