As we examine our homes for Passover, let’s examine our finances as well

Let’s talk chametz, shall we?

With Passover approaching, many Jewish families in Southern New Jersey will be clearing out any form of leavened bread—chametz–from their homes.

Amy Milgram
Amy Milgram

This annual ritual, according to Rabbi Nathan Weiner of Cong. Beth Tikvah in Marlton, represents “a clean break from who we were as a people enslaved under Egyptian bondage. Thus, we perform the painstaking but necessary task of cleaning out every last crumb of actual and metaphorical chametz, so that we will be properly prepared to receive the wisdom of the Torah in just a few weeks’ time, on Shavuot.”

By removing unleavened bread from our lives as we prepare for Passover, we are not just recalling the difficulties that our ancestors endured and their subsequent triumphs, but we are also transforming ourselves. This way, we can continue to grow and prosper into the future.

Interestingly, and without necessarily realizing it, secular culture offers us ways to rid ourselves of other types of “chametz” in our lives as well…

The New Year’s resolutions we make represent our desire to eliminate bad habits and replace them with good ones…

The spring-cleaning we perform at home challenges us to analyze what we need to keep and what we should part with, to help bring order and cleanliness to our lives…

And, with politics being a hot (okay, explosive) topic these days, even the act of voting on elected officials represents a chance for us each to have a say in our government’s direction.

Around this time of year, we here at the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. like to encourage our donors to work with their trusted advisors to clear out the chametz of their estate and financial plans. The JCF works closely with generous donors who help to assure this community’s future, as well as with professional advisors who help their clients maximize their charitable giving.

With tax season upon us, it can be an ideal time to gather your important documents and ensure that your finances are in order, your will is updated, and you are properly insured for life’s unexpected happenings. If, while reviewing your estate and financial plans, you find that you’d like to review your charitable giving plans in concert with your estate and financial plans, please feel free to contact me and I’d be glad to help.

Lastly, organizations also need to look for chametz. For example, the JCF is proud to announce some recent personnel refreshes. Janet Santo, our longest tenured employee with nearly 20 years of dedicated service, is now the JCF’s Donor Services Coordinator. This title reflects the importance of Janet’s role of working closely with donors to ensure that their transactions are processed smoothly, questions are answered promptly, and funds are given the proper oversight.

Meanwhile, we’re also happy to announce that Mike Staff will hold the updated title of Marketing & Communications Manager for the JCF. Mike will continue to oversee the JCF’s marketing initiatives and events, but this title reflects his involvement in communicating the JCF’s message in new and diverse ways, while also adding our Grants and Scholarship & Emerging Leader Awards to his portfolio.

These job title updates coincide with the introduction of Seth Mirowitz, who is the JCF’s new Director of Philanthropy. In reviewing the JCF’s recent growth and direction for the future, we felt the need to have a dedicated representative to meet with local synagogues, day schools, Federation agencies, and other non-profits and donors to promote legacy giving throughout the community. Seth has hit the ground running and would be happy to meet with you to discuss your philanthropic interests.

We are excited about these changes, and we hope that your search for chametz in your life benefits you as well.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and JCF President Valerie Gladfelter, I wish you and your loved ones a happy Passover.

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