No baseball player wants to hear “strike three” when the bases are loaded. No student wants to hear the teacher say, “We will be handing back tests from the highest mark to the lowest!” No congregant wants to hear the clergy say, “I am almost finished!” And no member of Ottawa’s Jewish community wants to answer the phone and hear, “Hi, I’m calling on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Annual Campaign.”
We have an almost visceral response to fundraising calls, especially from Federation. It engenders all of our prejudices about the cost of being Jewish. Synagogue dues are always too high, especially for those who attend and participate infrequently. Membership fees at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC) are too steep compared to other fitness centres, and day school tuition and supplementary school costs are outrageous, especially for those ambivalent about Jewish education.
The 2019 Annual Campaign is underway and I asked Director of Development Micah Garten – in the spirit of transparency, he is my son – to respond to some frequently heard questions and comments that may be heard as excuses to under-contribute or to avoid contributing. I don’t know if the answers represent official Federation policies or are the responses of one individual, but they provide us with insight into the concepts underpinning the notion of communal campaigns. [Read more…]