What does your organization do? The Jewish Federation of Las Vegas is made up of Jewish and social-service organizations, synagogues and schools that help people in our community, in Israel and around the world.
When and why was your organization established? The Jewish Federation of Las Vegas was established in 1966. The mission is to promote the well-being of our community, its members and Jews throughout the world; enhance the continuity, security and unity of the Jewish community; increase understanding of Jewish values; encourage members to fulfill the responsibility of tikkun olam, to make the world a better place; support Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; and promote collective action by individuals and organizations to advance these purposes.
What services do you offer that you think the community knows about? A primary initiative of the Jewish Federation is the Senior Lifeline program that services at-risk Jewish and non-Jewish seniors through transportation assistance, homemaking services and congregant meals/activities. Through our beneficiary agencies, we also fund programs for Holocaust survivors and Holocaust education, a free monthly book subscription for Jewish children in Las Vegas and various other initiatives.
What services do you offer that you think the community might not know about? We work with community partners, Jewish and non-Jewish, to promote inclusion and tolerance. This includes programs with the school district, the LGBTQ community, and participation in communitywide interfaith and multicultural activities. Another lesser-known aspect of our work is with the low-income senior population. Our Senior Lifeline program partners with the Regional Transportation Commission, the state and the county to provide meals and homemaking services to indigent elderly people. Nearly 80 percent of those we serve are not Jewish.
What sparked your interest in the nonprofit sector? I was involved in youth groups and my local Jewish community center while in high school. I was perplexed about my major in college and sought the advice of my guidance counselor. Upon explaining that I deeply enjoy spending time at the community center, she reminded me that people work there and that I could one day, as well. Later, during my college years, I was fortunate to visit Moscow and interact with other Jewish college students. After seeing the risks that the Russian students and their parents endured to maintain a connection to Judaism under communism, I decided to devote my career to ensuring that people would not have to take such risks in the future.
What has been your most exciting professional project? The Jewish Federation has been working to build stronger connections to non-Jewish organizations in Southern Nevada. We have had very productive meetings with CCSD, Three Square, the Smith Center, UNLV and others. I am looking forward to the progression of these conversations and how our partnerships can be mutually beneficial for the individual organizations and the community in general.
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