Statement on DeSean Jackson: The anti-Semitic comments displayed by DeSean Jackson on his instagram are deeply offensive and disturbing. These words have been used for centuries to support the vilification and extermination of Jews. As a representative of our city, we call on DeSean Jackson to stop spreading hate and bigotry and to become better educated about anti-Semitism.

From May 28, 2020

Dear Friend,
The festival of Shavuot marks the time that the Jewish people were given the Torah on Mount Sinai, highlighting the foundational source of our Jewish wisdom and values that have guided the Jewish people in acceptance of the Torah and the birth of the Jewish nation. Shavuot celebrates the passing of the teachings of Torah from one generation to the next.
L’dor v’dor…Together with you, our Jewish Federation ensures a vibrant future for our Jewish people. Throughout the pandemic, our community has demonstrated kindness that is steeped in the tradition of mitzvot and tikkun olam. Most recently, the Sharon and Joseph Kestenbaum Legacy Philanthropy Program raised $75,000 for our COVID-19 Emergency Fund. This program, run by the Jewish Federation, connects families with established philanthropic legacies so that they can explore leadership and Jewish values within a peer group. Read more about the program and how the founders inspired the current cohort to make such meaningful gifts during this time of need.
Our rich Jewish heritage of knowledge, history and culture is carried from generation to generation. Thank you for being a torchbearer, lighting the way toward a strong, vital and healthy future.
Chag Sameach and stay healthy,
Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

From May 8, 2020

Dear Friend,
As we battle the effects of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, our Jewish Federation continues to work alongside our Jewish agencies, non-profit organizations and synagogues to help those in need. To date, we have raised and leveraged more than $1.4 million and made initial grants totaling more than $700,000Click here to view our emergency relief efforts to date.
We could not do this critical work without your support. Thank you for helping us Carry the Light for those who need it most.
Shabbat Shalom,
Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

From May 1, 2020

Dear Friend,
Ours is a community of givers and doers. Over the past 7 weeks of living through social distancing and quarantine, we have worked together to ensure the safety and health of our neighbors.
In a time when it’s easy to feel isolated, please remember that there are so many ways to connect within our community. The Jewish Federation is a central resource and community convener, hosting virtual gatherings and high-level national updates. Or consider joining one of our partner agencies in exciting programs for individuals, kids, families, and more. A full list of local May virtual events is posted here.
The Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration continues, from home!
  • Saturday, May 2nd at 8:00 p.m. Join the Birthday DJ Bash to see performances by Westside Gracy, DJ Itay Galo and more. Click here to join the party.
  • Sunday, May 3rd all day, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Check out a day of events for kids & teens, including Israeli music, music talks, a Piven workshop, games and trivia. See the entire program lineup here.
I hope you will join me at many of these inspirational, educational and fun virtual programs that are sure to bring our community closer together.
Shabbat Shalom,
Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

From April 24, 2020

Dear Friend,
It’s reassuring to hear that we’re “flattening the curve” in greater Philadelphia as we all adjust to the new normal of our daily lives. We are still painfully aware that the crisis is far from over, and that our communities will continue to experience the immediate and long-term effects of COVID-19. The Jewish Federation’s Emergency Response Committee is allocating the funds we raise so that together with our partner agencies, we can provide basic and ongoing needs such as food, shelter, household supplies, and now, personal protective equipment.
With your generosity, in just six weeks we have impacted the lives of more than 40,000 people! I’m proud to be part of a strong community that is providing home delivered meals to people in need, care packages to Holocaust survivors, money for basic necessities, and protective masks to our agency partners working on the front lines as well as their clients.
Making a Difference
Since we began our emergency response efforts, we have raised more than $1.2 million and made initial grants totaling more than $665,000 including matching grants. New grants this week include:
  • Jewish Relief Agency (JRA): Renewal of grant through the end of June to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for ongoing food distribution
  • Federation Housing, Inc.: Three months of boxed lunches, providing 5,000 total meals for low-and-moderate-income senior residents
  • United Hatzalah: Funding of the new “Hamal” National Civilian Hotline for citizens in need of help throughout Israel
Our focus is to ease the burden for the vulnerable and newly vulnerable, and extend critical support to our community. We will address these evolving needs for as long as the crisis continues.
At the same time, we are maintaining our core work: serving vulnerable populations, supporting Jewish life and learning, and engaging the community. This past weekend, 400 people joined the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony. Watch this video to see meaningful tributes to victims of the Holocaust and hear survivor Peter Stern share his memories. We have connected community members virtually for educational and social events, including our Women’s Philanthropy, NextGen and Women of Vision affinities. And we’ve found new ways for teenagers to engage: our Diller Teens participated in a virtual Israel exchange weekend retreat with their Hertzilyah counterparts while participants in our Teen Giving Project connected to grant the money they’ve raised to fund local and national projects. All of these efforts help create our philanthropic community and empower the next generation of Jewish leaders.
It’s through the strength of our community, our Annual Campaign, volunteer leadership, and professionals that we can address the needs of the current pandemic while still delivering on our core values.
Thank you for partnering with us to Carry the Light on behalf of those who need it most.
Shabbat Shalom,
Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

From April 17, 2020

Dear Friend,
Last week at our Seder tables, we each felt a personal connection to the story of our Exodus. Although our Seders were intimate, we have never been more united than during this time of crisis. While each of us is experiencing individual challenges of isolation and uncertainty, we are one community, united in our efforts to collectively mitigate the suffering of others.
We are nearly five weeks into this pandemic locally, and I continue to be amazed by the speed and efficiency at which our community has come together to help our most vulnerable. This community has generously given over $1 million to the Jewish Federation’s Emergency Response Fund to support the most urgent needs of our community during this pandemic.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, the Jewish Federation and our network of nonprofits are on the frontlines helping to care for our communities and performing acts of loving kindness — from providing food and basic necessities for the most vulnerable, to sharing safe outlets for connection, education and interaction. These are the pillars of our work each and every day, and particularly during crises like this.
Emergency Fund Grant Update
We have made 13 initial grants for critical services totaling more than $400,000 locally and in Israel. These initial grants are mainly focused on fighting food insecurity, which remains an urgent need during this time. To continue this essential service the Emergency Response Committee renewed all local food security grants to extend the food supply through May. This includes additional funding to the Jewish Federation’s Mitzvah Food Program as a matching grant with Marcy Gringlas and Joel Greenberg, Seed the Dream Foundation, to help alleviate food insecurity and provide healthy and nutritious food for those in our communities with the greatest need during this pandemic.
Making a Difference
With grants from the emergency fund and the help of hundreds of volunteers, just last week:
  • KleinLife’s Meals on Wheels program distributed 1,900 Passover meals to 200 clients
  • The Jewish Federation’s Mitzvah Food Program distributed 500 Passover food packages
  • KleinLife’s meal delivery program expanded their reach by almost 100 clients, partnering with RSVP Philadelphia. 6ABC featured the program on the news; click here to watch the video.
Now is our time to make the COVID-19 pandemic mirror the story of Passover, which begins with suffering and ends with redemption, thanks to the bravery and sacrifice of so many.
Please be a part of this redemption. Consider making a gift to the Emergency Response Fund to help us expand upon this critical work. Continue to check our website for volunteer opportunities and useful resources, including ongoing  information about the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Join our next community webinar Friday, April 24th at 11:00 a.m. – register for the meeting by clicking here.
Thank you for partnering with us to Carry the Light on behalf of all who are most vulnerable during this unprecedented time.
Shabbat Shalom,
Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

From April 3, 2020

Dear Friend,

This year, we are preparing to celebrate Passover during a time in which we may not feel very “free.” Yet the Passover story is more relevant than ever. Our community has the collective power to effect positive change — from hardship and fear, to comfort and hope.


I continue to be inspired by the outpouring of compassion from our community and the ways we are supporting one another. Earlier this week, ShopRite Supermarkets, operated by Jeff and Sandy Brown, donated 550 boxes of Matzah to be distributed to more than 500 households through the Jewish Federation’s Mitzvah Food Program, helping to ensure recipients could celebrate the holiday.


In the less than three weeks since we established the Emergency Response Fund, we have raised more than $950,000 and made 12 initial grants for critical services totaling nearly $250,000. View the full list of grants here. This week’s grants include:

Greater Philadelphia
$83,000 has been designated to these organizations and initiatives: 
  • KAVOD Survivors of the Holocaust Emergency Fund (SHEF), in partnership with Marcy Gringlas, Joel Greenberg, and Seed the Dream Foundation, to provide basic needs services for Holocaust survivors
  • Abramson Senior Care, to provide food and supplies for the homebound elderly
  • Jewish Relief Agency (JRA), to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for ongoing food distribution
  • Personal Protective Equipment to provide 1,000 masks to partner agencies while they provide ongoing care to serve the basic needs of their clients
  • Judith Creed Horizons for Achieving Independence (J’CHAI), to provide food and supplies to their developmentally-disabled, home-based adult clients
$78,000 has been designated to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable in Israel through the following organizations:
  • Latet Israel, a matching grant with Seed the Dream Foundation, to help the most impoverished and isolated elderly, including thousands of Holocaust survivors
  • Leket Israel, the National Food Bank, to purchase nutritionally balanced meals for high-risk individuals
  • Orr Shalom, to cover the Passover expenses for the most vulnerable at-risk children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect
Please consider making a gift to the Emergency Fund to help us expand upon this critical work. It is amazing what we can do when we all come together. I hope you will continue to check our website for volunteer opportunities and useful resources, including information about the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as the application process for small business loans begins today.
Wishing you a healthy and happy Passover.
Chag Sameach,
Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

From March 27, 2019

Dear Friends,
Unprecedented events call for unprecedented action. Today, as we battle the effects of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, our Jewish Federation has taken action, working alongside our Jewish agencies, non-profit organizations and synagogues to speak with one voice to help those in need.

Ten days ago we launched the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, and to date we have raised more than $700,000 to meet the most critical needs. It is important for everyone in the community to know that one hundred percent of the donated dollars will benefit the most vulnerable in our community. This is one of the best ways to perform tzedakah if you are able to do so right now. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all come together. I am inspired by the outpouring of compassion throughout Greater Philly!

Please consider supporting the Emergency Response Fund with a gift of any size. For more information, please click here. With your partnership, our Jewish community will maintain its strength, health and vibrancy.

We are extremely grateful to our volunteers who are on the front line of this work; please click here for more information about opportunities on how you can help. A few to consider include:

  • Sign up here to deliver pre-packed bags of food and emergency supplies through the Mitzvah Food Program
  • Email John Eskate at to deliver pre-cooked meals through KleinLife’s Home Delivered Meals Program
  • Sign up here to call and check in with a local senior as part of the “Phone-a-Friend” program
While the needs of our community will continue to evolve, we have already invested $81,500 in initial grants where they are needed most:
  • $34,600 to Kleinlife’s Meal Delivery Program for older adults, providing 8,100 kosher prepared meals during March and April
  • $20,700 to the Mitzvah Food Program for those who have recently become food insecure, to offset the cost of food and supplies for an increasing client base
  • $25,000 to Jewish Family & Children’s Services to provide grants of $500 to 50 households for basic needs such as rent, mortgage or utility payments
  • $1,500 to Philly Friendship Circle to help families of children with disabilities to pay for basic necessities including support staff
The Jewish Federation serves as a central resource and community convener. With the help of volunteers, this week:
  • More than 1,700 meals were delivered through Kleinlife’s Meals on Wheels
  • Nearly 90 people volunteered to deliver necessities to the vulnerable and homebound through the Mitzvah Food Program
  • 136 grocery bags were packed and distributed by Mitzvah Food Program’s Mainline pantry, totaling nearly 2,500 pounds of nonperishable and fresh produce
  • 680 households received a total of 24,000 pounds of food from Mitzvah Food Program’s five pantry locations
  • More than 300 members of the community joined webinars to hear crucial updates, share ideas, and gain insight and inspiration from faith leaders
  • Nearly 80 people signed up for the Phone-a-Friend program, and will begin contacting homebound older adults next week
Thank you for partnering with us as together we Carry the Light on behalf of all who are most vulnerable during this unprecedented time.
Shabbat Shalom,
Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

From March 19, 2020

During these uncertain times, I wanted to reach out and update you on the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s emergency preparedness and plans to address our communities’ most critical needs. Please be assured we are at the forefront of assessing the needs as they develop during this crisis.

This is an unprecedented time that demands an extraordinary response. We are committed to providing essential resources throughout this time of need, and are coordinating with all Jewish-affiliated organizations, schools, synagogues and agencies in the region to assess and address emerging needs.Most importantly, we want to make sure you are aware of the resources available for all of us as we navigate the current conditions. Visit this page of our website for ongoing updates including tools for families and children; volunteer opportunities; resources for students and young adults; offerings from local synagogues; and resources for older adults, those now finding themselves food insecure or displaced from work.

If you are able, we ask you to join us in our life-saving work by making a gift to the Emergency Response Fund so we can continue this critical work. A mailbox for contributions has been posted on our Jewish Federation website:

We are at the beginning of what will certainly be a long road for our community. At this moment, we know the financial needs facing us will be significant. We are still working collaboratively with our community partners to identify hard costs, with the knowledge that these will change and increase over time.

While we are all aware of the uncertainty that COVID-19 is having on the financial markets, the dire needs of the community and those most at risk remain paramount. With your generosity, we will be able to ensure the safety and strength of our Jewish communities and those most directly affected by the risks presented.

A gift of any size will have an immediate impact and will support many at-risk populations, including:

  • Seniors and other members of our communities who are home-bound due to their high risk of contracting the virus
  • Our food insecure populations already being served by our agencies and by us
  • Those who now find themselves food insecure due to a loss of wages and or jobs, or loss of income as small business owners
  • People with developmental or physical disabilities whose regular care may be interrupted
  • Those who are served by community programs that run on the power of volunteers who are no longer able to carry out this important work.
Working together, with your generosity, we will address and meet the most critical needs as they arise. Thank you for helping us Carry the Light.
If you have a question about making a gift to the emergency fund, please contact Donor Services at 215.832.0521 or 215.832.0865. If you have questions about volunteering or need to be connected to services, please contact 215.832.0852. These numbers are landlines at our offices which are being forwarded to our amazing staff who are working remotely.
Stay safe and healthy,
Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

From March 12, 2020

In times of uncertainty, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has always been a safe haven for people to turn to for help, guidance and comfort. Now we are responding to the Coronavirus pandemic by ensuring that our critical work continues with vigor. The elderly, infirm, hungry and most vulnerable individuals in our region need our help. And we are here for them.

We have begun evaluating community needs and we are making contingency plans to maintain delivery of critical services. Beginning tomorrow and continuing weekly as needed, the Jewish Federation will hold conference calls with leaders of local agencies, synagogues and day schools to obtain needs assessments, discover opportunities for collaboration, and share updates. We are also working with partner agencies who provide services to the most vulnerable individuals. We are resolute in our goal to ensure all needs are met.

Following the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, local officials and our own Emergency Response Committee, all Jewish Federation events scheduled from now through the end of Passover are postponed.  Updated information will be communicated via email and on our website —

Likewise,  we are taking every precaution to keep ourselves and our staff safe so we can continue to effectively and efficiently serve our community. On Monday, March 16th, Jewish Federation professionals will conduct a work-remotely test day to ensure that all of our virtual systems are in place. In the event of mandatory self-quarantines, we want to make certain we are prepared.

While keeping our community safe during the COVID-19 outbreak is our top priority, we are planning future events and programs that will build upon our welcoming, vibrant Jewish community and engage people of all ages in extraordinary Jewish experiences. Your generous support is imperative, and we ask for your continued participation in maintaining the work of our organization.

We offer prayers of healing to those affected worldwide. Please keep yourselves and your families safe by following CDC precautions to stay healthy during this outbreak. Additional information can be found at World Health Organization. And please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions or concerns.

Sending you all wishes of sustained good health.


Susanna Lachs Adler
Board Chair
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia