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Everyone Has a Story to Share in the “Book of Life”

SPECIAL TO THE LEDGER – This month, the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Western Massachusetts (JEF) celebrates the many individuals who have made a commitment to the Jewish community by creating their Jewish legacy. Having just completed the High Holidays, it is a fitting time for the JEF to launch its new Book of Life.

Jewish tradition tells us that the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are days of repentance during which we make amends to those we’ve offended during the year. On Yom Kippur, the Book of Life is sealed for the new year.

JEF’s Book of Life won’t seal your fate for 5774 – but it will record the stories of individuals who have made a financial commitment to the Jewish community of western Massachusetts through the Create a Jewish Legacy Program or by establishing a fund at the Jewish Endowment Foundation. The stories are reflections of why individuals choose to support the Jewish community.

The new, expandable, Book of Life will feature individual donor stories, photos and artwork created by Amy Fagin of 20th Century Illuminations. Everyone who has made a Create a Jewish Legacy commitment or has created a fund at the Jewish Endowment Foundation is invited to submit their story. A form is available on JEF’s website,


Here are two stories that will be included in the Book of Life at its unveiling:


Marcy Eisenberg:

“For many years I have been refining the direction of my lifetime philanthropy and my continuing legacy. An imperative that defines this is the certainty that whatever I may leave in this world goes on to do good. I wish to be remembered as I recall my parents – with simple yet strong Jewish values; caring and generous during their lifetimes without hesitation. Their deeds inspire me on a daily basis. My gift is going to Federation because I value the opportunity to benefit many agencies. Because the needs of the Jewish community are ever-changing, my bequest is unrestricted as I have tremendous confidence in the lay leadership and staff to distribute the funds as priorities dictate. I have enduring gratitude for the breadth and depth of the Western Mass Jewish community that has been so welcoming to me. Not only has it provided an outlet for volunteer and philanthropic opportunities, but most importantly, a life populated by remarkable relationships.”


Mordechai Kamel:

“I chose to make legacy gifts to Lander-Grinspoon Academy and the Jewish Federation of Western Mass because I believe that Jewish education and federated giving are part of the underpinnings of a healthy Jewish community, locally and around the world. In making these gifts I hope to see these institutions remain strong into the future. I would like to be remembered as someone who was an active participant in his community and who cared about it and about Jews everywhere. My hopes for the Jewish community are that it continues to thrive and contribute to the larger world and to Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). My greatest influence in shaping my Jewish identity was my father, who fought and when the fight was over, continued to give of himself.”


The Book of Life will be unveiled at a special donor recognition event to be held on October 20th.  The event is funded in part by platinum sponsor Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and gold sponsors BNY Mellon Wealth Management and The Davis Financial Group.


To learn more about the Book of Life or creating your own Jewish Legacy, please contact Scott Kaplan, Endowment Director at 413-732-9994 or Create a Jewish Legacy is a joint program of the Jewish Endowment Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. The Jewish Endowment Foundation is a division of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.


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