Feeling Optimistic in the New Year at Federation

Recently, we gathered to commemorate a remarkable milestone — the 50th golden anniversary of United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien.

This historic occasion is not only a testament to our shared heritage but also a moment to honor the exceptional leaders who have guided us and the exemplary individuals who inspire us to shape a dazzling future. At the heart of our celebration were two exceptional women who have not only broken barriers but have become role models for all, especially me. Both Sheila Romanowitz and Edith Samers, Executive Directors Emeriti of United Jewish Federation, have exemplified resilience, compassion, and leadership, inspiring generations to come. Their unwavering dedication to our community is a beacon of hope and a reminder of the remarkable potential within each of us, and even more so, that our work and our responsibility to the Jewish future is never complete!

Each of us is needed...to actively volunteer and yes, to also give philanthropy within our means.

Individually, our contributions are important, but as a collective, our impact and ability to make change is that much more powerful. Sheila and Edith’s impact and our shared accomplishments, resonate with the vision that has guided United Jewish Federation for five decades—a vision rooted in the belief that every member of our community plays a vital role in shaping its destiny. It was a tremendous honor to celebrate with many of our founders who recognized that by joining forces and pooling resources, we could create a safe, welcoming, and diverse place where all Jews can find solace, support, and belonging... and that is UJF!

The sold-out gala took participants back in time to the founding of UJF with a movie written and narrated by Carl E. Rosen with the support of Wendell Maxey and Sharon Lewis. It was truly a walk down memory lane. Sheila and Edith shared just a few highlights of their tenure, and then, with a nod to the future, NextGen was highlighted as 3rd and 4th generation young families, returning to our community, shared what makes this community so special and why they returned. (Videos can be viewed on UJF's YouTube page).

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" – Psalm 133:1

As we celebrate United Jewish Federations' 50th golden anniversary and the Jewish New Year, we are not merely a sum of our individual parts but a force for good, forging a brighter path for all Jews to call this community home. The gala presented an opportunity to reflect on our community's past, acknowledge the present and envision a future enriched by unity and diversity.

Together, we can ensure that the next 50 years are even more remarkable than the last, forging a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

*Thank you to Mayor Caroline Simmons for attending the gala and presenting UJF with a proclamation from the City of Stamford declaring Thursday, September 7, 2023, "United Jewish Federation Day".

This article appears in the upcoming October issue of The New Jewish Voice newspaper. To receive The New Jewish Voice delivered free to your home, sign-up today at www.ujf.org.