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Announcing Our Jewish Future at Temple Emanu-El

We are overjoyed that Temple Emanu-El has just received the largest single gift in our history. It is a transformative act of philanthropy that will have an immediate effect now, and for generations to come. A most generous temple member has donated $3,250,000 to endow a program to encourage young Jewish and interfaith families to raise their children as Reform Jews at Temple Emanu-El.

We call it: Our Jewish Future.

Our Jewish Future will be contributing $2,000 for each family to help with their dues obligation, every year, for decades to come.

By vote of the Temple Board, annual dues and maintenance fund payments for families with children in kindergarten through 10th grade will now be $360.  For parents of means who wish to continue contributing to the temple as before, we have created a new giving circle for school parents called Parent Pillars.

We are all concerned about the future of our people and the vitality of Jewish life in America.  We cheer for every parent who embraces a Jewish life and chooses to pass it on to their children.  We lament those who drift away from the community. 

Our Jewish Future understands that a major hurdle for today’s parents is that it can be so expensive to be part of a temple community. Even when regular dues and tuition are heavily subsidized, the financial burden that families face can be daunting. For instance, if parents have a child in 5th grade and 2nd grade, their dues each year can be $2250, plus $300 for the maintenance fund, plus a religious school tuition bill for the two children of $1750. That’s a total of $4300. How many potential families might be kept away?

One temple member created Our Jewish Future because he wants to help in a big way. He wants to be like a grandfather to each of the Jewish children in our community and help with these costs.

Our remarkable benefactor would like his identity to remain private.  By his request, he will be known to us as Papa Joe. This name honors members of his own family that supported him when he was a child.

Many grandparents assist in the financial costs for their own grandchildren attending religious school, locally and in other states. It is a way for grandparents to partner with their children in raising a new generation of Jews. Papa Joe is doing the same thing, but he is adopting an entire generation of Sarasota Jewish children as his own. 

We are so thankful.  We are grateful for the gift to our own young families.  We are grateful for this act of loving generosity that will sustain our people.

Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784