May 7, 2015

From the Hub of Our Community – Where Jewish Paths Converge: Our 2015 Annual Meeting

With applause and cheers ringing throughout the night, an outsider might have thought they’d walked into a rally rather than our Federation’s 2015 Annual Meeting. Indeed, on April 29, our paths led us from all neighborhoods and Jewish backgrounds to Zinman Hall with plenty to celebrate. There we were, 260 enthusiastic Federation leaders and donors, rabbis and agency heads, volunteers and staff together at the very hub of our community - kvelling about our year’s shared accomplishments, paying well-earned tribute to our leaders, and looking more strategically than ever toward needs and challenges ahead.

From the moment Chairs Emily Grabelsky and Dorothy Wizer welcomed the enthusiastic crowd aboard “FEDEXPEDITIONS: A Journey to Impact” from a cockpit (onscreen), followed by a deeply moving D’var Torah from Rabbi Phil Moskowitz, we knew we were in for quite a ride! And on that plane, journey we did – touring with inspiring lay leaders. With Emily around the campus, with Dorothy to Israel recovering from last summer’s strife, with Bryan Drowos to some of the world’s poorest Jews in Azerbaijan, with Betty Kane to France besieged by anti-Semitism. Everywhere we traveled, we saw how much we are needed and the results of our sacred work.

It was my true honor and privilege to present a “Vision for the Future from the Hub of Our Community – Where Jewish Paths Converge,” and to invite you to view it here online or read it here in print. (Briefly excerpted below with these links repeated.)

Beginning his second year as Board Chair, Al Gortz, my most wise, committed, strategic and creative partner, delivered a State of the Federation address, “Federation at Double Chai: An Era of New Life,” reflecting on our year’s remarkable progress - from his unique perspective as a founder of our Federation - whose leadership has been integral for 36 years.

With Nominating Chair Roxane Lipton, we welcomed our new 2015-16 Board of Directors, a diverse group so representative of our community. I’m thrilled that our incoming leaders include our first Chair-Designate, Anne Jacobson; new Campaign Chair, Larry Feldman; and new Treasurer, David Galpern.

We also honored five extraordinary members of our community for their contributions to our organization, our community and our people. With love and pride, we remembered Dotti Seaman (z’l) with the JFNA National Endowment Achievement Award. Betty Kane, our brilliant Campaign Chair for the past two years, received the James H. Nobil Community Leadership Award. Bob Marton accepted the James and Marjorie Baer Outstanding Young Leadership Award, and the James H. Nobil Professional Achievement Award was presented to Tom Forlenza and Robyn Kimmelman.

Enjoy photos of the 2015 Annual Meeting here.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts at on how, together, our community can do even more to help those who need us in so many ways.


Matthew Levin President & CEO

Vision for the Future from the Hub of Our Community – Where Jewish Paths Converge

Brief excerpts from address delivered by Matthew C. Levin, President & CEO, at the 2015 Annual Meeting on April 29, 2015

In our Mission Statement and elsewhere you hear us call Federation the hub of this community. People pass through the hub on many paths – as donors and recipients, as agency heads and volunteers, as rabbis, community leaders and students. Some of them, like you here tonight, don’t pass through – you live in this hub, at the very core of our Jewish community - visioning and shaping it, driving and celebrating its success, the first to rise in response to crises.

Others are noticing, too.

JFNA CEO Jerry Silverman told us recently there’s a buzz out there about the success of our innovative work. And when two most esteemed rabbis came to our community this season, both of them – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, and Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel – found South Palm Beach County unique in how we’re bringing more and more people and entities together to care for each other in new ways to fulfill our most sacred mission. Touring our campus, Rabbi Lau said we have a model he wishes others would adopt.

Yes, it’s working! So – have we made it? Are we there yet? Absolutely not. In fact, we’re just getting started.

Because, my friends, it’s up to us - to see that our vibrant Jewish community continues far into the future - a future in which our Jewish family will need us no less than they do today.

Click here to view a video of Matt’s Vision for the Future, or Click here to continue reading it.