When One Jew Asks Another Jew for Money to Help a Third Jew

An Interview with Dr. Steven Fleischman

 

Sitting in the comfortable and inviting Fleischman Family Center at the Beckerman-Lender Jewish Community Building, Dr. Steven Fleischman shared about the need for a thriving Jewish community and about federated giving. Dr. Fleischman is the Chair of the Joshua Society of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, and the Chairman of the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven.  

 

“I grew up in a Jewish community, and Judaism has always been an important part of my life.” Said Fleischman. “It wasn’t until I got married and had kids that I realized how much work and how much time and effort goes into making a strong and vibrant Jewish community and making sure that that community has the resources available to it to keep it going.” To Steve, the importance of growing the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign is in sustaining the values that are so crucial for ensuring a Jewish future for our families and for our community. “To me it's about family and it’s about community.  I want to make sure that the work we do results in a strong vibrant Jewish community; not just for me now, but for my kids now and for my kids when that get older, and for the future generations that follow. “

Dr. Steven Fleischman traveled on a Federation mission to Ukraine and Israel in the summer of 2017, and chaperoned a March of the Living mission in the spring of 2018.  These experiences gave him the opportunity to witness the needs of world Jewry and the importance of federated giving, firsthand.  “What I realized on these two trips is how much of an impact the giving we have locally has upon the overseas Jewish community. Going to Ukraine and visiting with elderly people who live on less than $30 a month and realizing that without the federated giving these people wouldn't have enough to live on, they wouldn't have medications to take care of their illnesses, and on top of everything, they wouldn’t have enjoyed the companionship that they derive from the individuals who go and deliver these goods, which in some cases, are the only interactions they may have.” Steve recalls another part of the trip, visiting students in Ethiopian National Project in Israel and being so impressed with the positive impact that program has in that community that he committed right then and there to sponsor a child in the program. “The impact is so compelling that it's hard not to want to give to every single one of these programs”.  In all, Steve recognizes “it's impossible to find every amazing agency in Israel and give, and every overseas agency and give, so that you can give in Ukraine, in South America, and in Europe. By giving locally to the Federation I know that a percentage of what I give will go to these agencies, and that my giving will impact a multitude of Jews around the world. And I truly believe in the essence of what we do, where one Jew asks another Jew for money to help a third Jew. I really feel that Federation, and the opportunity to give locally, helps not only our local community [..] but worldwide, we're helping Jews, we're helping them live better lives, and we're helping them get out of poverty and that is really what our mission is all about.