Every donor has a unique reason for supporting Federation, but they all have the same goal: ensuring the growth and continuation of the Jewish community in Fairfield County, Israel, and around the world. Here are some of those reasons.

Melody & Claude Bernstein

Our Reason: Building for the future

A modest slice of our estate can help ensure the durability and vitality of Jewish life in New Canaan. Not just in our lifetime, but long afterward. When we decided to participate, we explained to our adult children what it means to us to be Jews, and what Judaism meant to our parents and grandparents. We emphasized our desire to have children and grandchildren who value their Jewish heritage — as well as a strong Jewish presence in New Canaan. Once we opted to move forward, the process of establishing a legacy gift was easy.

Lenore and Ilan Fogel

Our Reason: Keeping our support system together

We moved to Stamford in 2004 and instantly felt at home. We had never lived in a community where all the organizations work so diligently to come together for the good of the whole. We, and our five children, have been blessed to benefit from such a wide variety of options and opportunities, and to have so many places where we feel a sense of belonging. While we can’t share all that we would like with all of the organizations that we love, LIFE & LEGACY is an avenue for us to contribute to the future of our home that we love so much. We have been blessed to benefit from such a wide variety of options and opportunities, and to have so many places where we feel a sense of belonging. With this program, we are able to give back. What a gift!

Lorraine and David Kweskin

Our Reason: Supporting locally to connect globally

We have a rich, multi-generational connection to the Jewish community and the city of Stamford. LIFE & LEGACY is the obvious choice to nourish Jewish communities and support Jewish organizations locally, as well as worldwide. We have never been people of overwhelming means, however, we do have an overwhelming commitment to the Jewish world.

Both of our families have always been immersed in the Stamford Jewish Community. Our mothers were Hadassah members and Sisterhood Presidents, our fathers bowled for the Jewish Center League, and both families actively supported their synagogues (Agudath and Beth El). We became awakened to the global Jewish community through our involvement with United Jewish Federation, which lead us to visit countries the former Soviet Union, the same countries our grandparents and great grandparents left to escape antisemitism and seek out opportunity. Our Israel missions with the Stamford community sparked deeper connections to our faith and our people. These insights broadened our view of the Jewish world and magnified our involvement with Israel. It is our prayer that by joining Life and Legacy we can keep our commitment alive through financial support while at the same time setting an example for our children and grandchildren.

Beverly & David Stein

Our Reason: If not us, then who?

We moved to Stamford in 1990 and became involved in Federation, as well as other Jewish organizations that enable local individuals and families to receive essential services with compassion, respect, and the support to build healthier, more stable, lives.


Federation helps Jews at home, in Israel, and overseas in a way no other organization does. We have traveled to Israel and Europe and seen flourishing Jewish communities firsthand. We have also seen what destroyed communities look like and understand that if we don’t support Jews around the world, no one else will.

Malerie Yolen-Cohen & Jeff Cohen

Our Reason: Setting an example

If we don’t make a financial gift to the organizations we care about, they may not survive, and the next generation might not be as involved as we are. It’s our responsibility to do our part.


We grew up very differently, so we come at Jewish charitable giving from two vastly different directions. Malerie is from Greenwich CT, went to Bi-Cultural Day School, and the imperative to give to Jewish causes was instilled in her from the time she was born.

Jeff’s grandparents escaped from Poland and he was raised in the small town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which had 8 Jewish families. The closest synagogue was a 75-minute drive. Being Jewish was important, but it wasn’t until Jeff moved here that he was educated about the importance of giving back. It was essential for both of us to be involved in a vibrant Jewish community where we could join the JCC, send our kids to Jewish Day School, be involved in our synagogue, and, of course, help others when we can.

Sharon Franklin

My Reason: Every person counts


I have lived in Stamford for over 25 years and love our vibrant, close-knit, and unique Jewish community, which is much different than where I was raised. It was a wonderful place to raise my two daughters who went to Jewish nursery school and day school, and were surrounded by wonderful friends, mentors, and teachers all of whom contributed to their growth and maturity.


I grew up in a very different environment—a small city in West Virginia with a small, but close, Jewish community of 40,000. (Yes, there are Jews in West Virginia!) I saw my parents give back to our shul and how each person in the community was committed to being an active member in order to keep it alive. No matter the size of your community—small like where I grew up, or Stamford’s larger Jewish footprint—it is essential for everyone to contribute with their actions or support.


Working at Federation for the last eight plus years, I have had the honor of learning more about our community, the people who live here, and the diversity that makes our town so special. I have also seen that while large gifts are needed to keep our agencies and institutions afloat, it is also the smaller gifts that are the backbone of our community’s philanthropy. Every person counts, which is why I jumped at the chance to be part of LIFE & LEGACY. The process was easy and will have an impact on the institutions I love for years to come.


Meryl & David Gordon


Our Reason: Continuing to give our 10%


A strong Jewish identity has always been a part of our lives—as children, at Yale (where we met at the kosher kitchen), and when we moved to Stamford in 1980. We quickly became involved in the Stamford Jewish community via synagogue life and UJF. Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz z’l, explained to us that according to Jewish law, 10% of our income didn’t really belong to us. We were just guardians who were responsible for distributing it as tzedakah. Having grown up in families that prioritized charitable giving, the message has resonated with us through the years.


Stamford is a very unusual Jewish community. It is small, but rich in Jewish life and activity. We support numerous Jewish institutions, organizations, and synagogues, but the “glue” and “grease” that keeps our community running is United Jewish Federation. We know that everyone passes eventually and very few are remembered by history, but our legacy will be our children, their descendants, and the 10% of our estate that will strengthen the Stamford Jewish community for generations to come.

Nancy Mimoun


My Reason: Being there for Jews near and far


Growing up in a “Federation Family”, the Jewish community has always been a big part of my life. I first became involved with Federation out of guilt—I was spending money on renovating my kitchen and felt bad I wasn’t spending enough on charity, so I endowed a Lion of Judah gift. (Before I could afford to be a Lion!) As a member of UJF’s Board of Directors, I fully supported the start of LIFE & LEGACY in Stamford, continue to do so, and made an additional gift to support the program and the community.


Our children will have their own choices to make in their philanthropic giving, but we want to make sure they know where our hearts lie. I want to ensure that whoever wants or needs to make Aliyah can, that Stamford will be a good place for Jews to live for generations, and that if Jews around the world are in danger, they will get help. My legacy gift will help all of that happen.

Norma Kraut

My Reason: Leaving a gift for the worldwide Jewish family

Federation has been dear to my heart for many years. My mother, a Hadassah member, taught me the importance of devoting time and funds to assist Jewish communities in the United States and abroad. In 1968, my first visit to Israel helped me really understand the meaning and importance of having our own state, which could impact the hopes and dreams of Jews worldwide. My late husband, Herb Kraut, and I were both very involved in the Stamford Federation's governing board and fundraising campaigns, and taught our daughters to value and support Federation's mission. As soon as I learned about the LIFE & LEGACY program, I committed to leaving a lasting gift. Just as I plan to provide for a future for my children and grandchildren, I am proud to provide for a future for my Jewish family around the world, via Federation's work.

Elissa & Philip Klapper


Our Reason: Uniting the Jews of Stamford


The beauty of the Stamford Jewish community is the seemingly organic interaction of Jews that it invites from all streams of Judaism. Central to creating and maintaining this unique warmth are our communal institutions, chief among them the United Jewish Federation. UJF’s Board of Directors represents a wide range of political and religious outlooks. These volunteers do their sacred work while engaging with, and learning from, each other. Federation’s standard of mutual respect and inclusive programming filters into everyday life in Stamford, uniting the community rather than reinforcing boundaries between synagogues, schools, or agencies.


Our hope in leaving one of our LIFE & LEGACY gifts to UJF is that this remarkable community will continue to reflect these values we hold dear, and that the next generation of Jews raised in Stamford will be as committed to Jewish religious observance and Jewish communal responsibility as those who paved the way for us.

Susan Kostin


My Reason: Maintaining the legacy of those who came before.


When I think about legacy giving, I remember the lessons passed down to me from my grandparents and parents. I want to ensure that I am a strong link in that chain, protecting and preserving our Jewish community for all of our Jewish children and grandchildren for generations to come. L’Dor Vador!


My husband Ed Kostin z”l and I moved to Darien in 1992 with our then 2-year-old son Andrew. We attached ourselves to the “greater Stamford” Jewish community, joining Temple Sinai and the JCC, where our son attended the Sara Walker Nursery School. It was a big change from the Jewish community of 200 families in western Pennsylvania I grew up with. We knew every Jewish family across three congregations—Orthodox, Conservative and Reform—and celebrated and socialized together. As a teen, I was active in our Jewish youth groups (BBYO and PAFTY). That chain of Jewish involvement I am a part of goes back to my mother’s father, Barnett Sapiro z”l, who was the very first president of Temple Emanu-El in Honolulu, HI, established in 1938. My father’s dad, Louis Finkelstein z”l, was the president of the Reform Beth Zion Temple in Johnstown, PA in 1952, when its building was constructed. My own father, Seymour Finkelstein z”l, was a lifelong supporter and past president of those congregations and spearheaded the UJA annual dinner, Israel Bond Drive, and other fundraisers for over 50 years. Just as I have benefited from their involvement, and learned the importance of being an active member of the Jewish community, with LIFE & LEGACY, I will be doing the same for future Jews in Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien.

Edith Samers


Our Reason: Supporting the home we love


With so many choices to use our resources, we agreed that the best one was to leave a gift for the Jewish community we have lived in for a combined, between the two of us, 147 years. There are many reasons we wanted to leave this legacy gift: preserving the beautiful values of the Jewish people; helping ensure that the vibrant Jewish organizations and institutions that were a part of our lives when we were young are here for the next generations; supporting the Federation that keeps Stamford together now and always; guaranteeing that no matter how our children use the funds we leave behind, some will be put aside to preserve Jewish life here. We care for and cherish the Jewish people and the Jewish community. How could we leave this earth without giving something to keep it going when we are no longer here?

Ellen & Richard Weber


Our Reason: Ensuring a thriving Jewish Stamford


We moved to Stamford from central Pennsylvania in 1987 with our little one, Robin. We were looking to relocate for work reasons and Stamford appeared to be a nice Jewish community to raise a family. It has proved to be an outstanding place to be, on all accounts. We were both raised in Jewish communities where our parents were active in our synagogues—Ellen’s mom was in the Bellerose Jewish Center’s Sisterhood and Richard’s dad was a founder of Temple Sholom of Westbury. These communities have changed over the years, and so too have their Jewish institutions. That is something that weighs heavily on our minds regarding the future of our wonderful Jewish community here in Stamford, which is why we became LIFE & LEGACY participants.


We are blessed that our daughter, her husband, Jason, and our 2 grandchildren live in Stamford and are active in so many of the Jewish organizations, including Federation. For the last 20 years Ellen has been involved in a variety of UJF leadership roles and has seen the impact UJF has had on our local Jewish community and on Jews globally first-hand. Our hope is that our gift will help the Stamford Jewish community remain strong and vibrant not only for them but for generations to come. This partnership will have an enormously positive impact on our Jewish community’s future.

Connie & Alan Freeman


Our Reason: A commitment to Jewish continuity


We have been involved in the Stamford Jewish community for over 30 years. The idea of Jewish continuity has always been paramount to Connie, whose mother lost her parents, brother, and twelve other members of her immediate family in the Holocaust. I joined in Connie’s commitment to the Jewish people, with Israel being a passion we both share. As lifelong Hadassah supporters, deeper involvement in the larger Jewish community was natural for us. Supporting Federation, and other local groups, gave us the opportunity to participate in organizations that take care of, and enrich, our Jewish community and the community at large. They help ensure a secure Israel, all driven by the Jewish and American values of fairness, equality, and Tzedakah. We want this legacy to continue flourishing into the future for our children, grandson, and others, which is why we became LIFE & LEGACY donors.

Your donations help us do good everywhere

If you live in Fairfield County, there’s a good chance that your life has been touched by Federation. Every day, we provide programming, community resources, and essential outreach to the needy. And we can’t do it without you!