Jewish Federation approves help, collects cash

The board of directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh provided an additional $ 1 million in COVID-19 relief funds on December 14, totaling more than $ 7 million.

Adam Hertzman, director of marketing, said $ 1.2 million is of particular concern for health and personal services. This will allow the Jewish community in Pittsburgh to receive US $ 600,000 from the Human Service Matching Fund of the Jewish Federation of North America.

That money will be used to support services outside of education and connection with Jewish life, Hertzman explained.

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“It’s food insecurity, it’s mental health, it’s physical health,” Hertzman said. “It protects the front line workers, which is very important right now. It provides staff necessary to enable social distancing. It offers support to people with financial uncertainty during the pandemic. All of the things that enable people to keep their families healthy, safe and solvent, all of which are interconnected. “

While funds are not limited, Hertzman pointed out that several beneficiary organizations, including the Jewish Association on Aging and the Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community Center, serve the new COVID-19 vaccine target audience: residents of long-term care facilities and care homes, Vulnerable seniors and frontline workers.

Other beneficiary organizations are the three Jewish day schools – Community Day School, Hillel Academy Pittsburgh and Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh. For the first time, the allocations include unrestricted grants to the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for food insecurity and emergency funding programs.

“This is the power of collective giving by the federation,” said Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the federation. “Together and only together we can tackle the most difficult problems in our community. More than ever, we are fighting the pandemic and helping people in need together with Jewish organizations that work as donors, volunteers, community members and employees. All supporters of the Jewish Federation should be so proud of what we are achieving. “

The timing of the additional distribution is due to emerging needs, Hertzman said, pointing to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County.

“Until recently, we were dealing with one-off inquiries, and while this funding is a one-off response, we’ve found that some agencies need more flexibility,” said Hertzman. “For example, the JCC has additional staff time to pay to distribute take-away meals. This is the collaboration with the Squirrel Health Center on COVID-19 testing and health testing for the Early Childhood Center. The JCC and the JAA are now also looking forward to the possibility of vaccinations. “

The Federation raised more than $ 211,000 in its annual Super Sunday fundraiser on Sunday, December 13th. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the phone was practically held with 339 volunteers talking to potential donors from their homes.

That number is lower than in previous years, but Hertzman stated that due to the pandemic and the expected disruptions caused by the use of new software, Federation was expecting the smaller amount.

“We wanted to make sure the volunteers had a good experience and knew what to do,” he said. Now they hope to make up the difference.

“If ever there was a year where we have to set a record for the capital campaign, this is it,” said Hertzman.PJC

David Rullo can be reached at

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