For members of the Jewish community who want to create a permanent charitable endowment that will benefit the community long after they’re gone, one of the most notable ways to accomplish this is through the Jewish Community Foundation’s Endowment Book of Life.
The Endowment Book of Life provides a way for people to share their values, visions, histories and hopes with future generations by entering a page in this archival record of individuals who have created, or plan to create, a permanent charitable endowment at the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF). Signers commit to create a permanent endowment through the JCF to benefit Jewish organizations, synagogues or programs that have been important to them during their lives.
Since the program’s launch in 1998, 380 people have signed the Endowment Book of Life. Some sign as individuals, while others have created an endowment as couples or families.
More than 140 people attended the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix’s recognition of 17 new Endowment Book of Life signers this past September.
The 17 signers for 2016 are: Richard Kasper and Julia Rosen; Dena Morris Kaufman; Carol and Joe Newman; Cyndi, Jamie, AJ and Sadie Rosenthal; Donald and Esther Chana Schon; Rabbi Dean Shapiro and Haim Ainsworth; Josh Wertlieb and Rebecca Light; and Carole and Alan Zeichick.
Here are their statements about why they believe so passionately in ensuring that their love for the community continues after they’re no longer here.
Carole and Alan Zeichick
“We do not live for ourselves alone, nor do we live for today alone. Our sacred purpose is to prepare a better world for those who come after us. That is why the Jewish people have always given tzedakah, engaged in tikkun olam, and performed gemelut chasadim (acts of loving kindness). We are proud to continue in that tradition by supporting the JCF. L’dor vador is our life and legacy. L’dor vador is the true measure of our days. Together we shall heal the world.”
Donald Schon, MD and Esther Chana Schon
“The question of what is Jewish community is a question that has haunted us for many years. We have a 4,000-year-old tradition of taking care of each other and the communities within which we reside. To us, the answer to this question involves the obligation to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves; the obligation to leave this world a better place than when we entered it; the obligation to create institutions that will be there and be meaningful to our children and grandchildren in perpetuity; the concept that the greatest good is enabling a Jew to help a second Jew help a third Jew. For these concepts and for teaching these concepts we are endowing our gift in the book of life.”
Dena Morris Kaufman
“I can’t see the future, can’t imagine the changes that await,” Kaufman said. “How will Judaism be relevant to the new generation? Where will they find value and beauty?
“My parents gave me the treasured gifts of Jewish summer camp and an extended trip to Israel. This is where all that I had learned about Judaism came to life and I discovered that Jewish songs reached deep into my soul, Israeli dancing made my spirit soar, and the Jewish people lived in my heart.
“With my legacy gift, I want future generations to be able to find their own spirit and love for Judaism; I hope each person will be nourished by a strong and vibrant Jewish community that cares for the vulnerable, honors our shared values and cherishes our rich traditions.”
Rabbi Dean Shapiro and Haim Ainsworth
“At their best, parents, grandparents, and teachers make children feel loved, worthy, and capable. At the same time, they show us that we are part of something far greater than ourselves – a family, a community, the Jewish people, humanity, the Earth, the cosmos, God.
“We want our young son to know that he is special, a unique microcosm of humanity. And we want him to know that there is much in this world that is bigger than he is. When these two concepts are merged effectively, he will, with his one precious life, serve others and serve our shared values. Then his limited existence will indeed be grand.
“Life is temporary. Tzedakah is forever.”
Cyndi, Jamie, AJ and Sadie Rosenthal
“As the Rosenthal family enters our fifth year as Phoenicians, we are no longer newbies. Since day one, each one of us has dived head first into the Phoenix Jewish community. With our time, energy, and resources, we are all committed to help build ‘our’ Jewish community for generations to come.”
Josh Wertlieb and Rebecca Light
“We have both had the good fortune to come from families that have exhibited leadership and commitments to tzedakah, chesed and Jewish community. We believe that with raising our family in Phoenix comes the duty to help build and strengthen the community around us, while committing to create a vibrant and engaging landscape for all Jewish families. We hope that through our time, money and energy, and through our endowments down the road, we can be partners to many, and leave the things we become involved with just a little better off, due to our efforts.”
Carol and Joe Newman
“It is important to us that we keep our Jewish heritage alive in this era of secularization and assimilation. Many of the younger generation consider themselves as Jews in name only and are abandoning our religious institutions and our community. By leaving a legacy to help foster the values we, our parents and grandparents valued, we hope to perpetuate the Jewish values and ideals of tzdakah and tikkun olam, and to inspire our own children to continue to support our community, its people and its institutions.”