Shabbat Message From Our CEO 5.24.2

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Dear Friends,

As we prepare to welcome Shabbat, our hearts are filled with pride in the strength of our Jewish community. Last Sunday’s “Celebrate Israel” festival showcased our shared resilience, hope, and unwavering commitment to our heritage. Seeing our community come together in celebration of Israel’s 76th year of statehood in spirit, solidarity, and joy reinforced our greatest power: unity.
Jewish Federation of Orange County is deeply committed to championing the values that amplify Jewish life and sustain the Jewish future. 

Our work is driven by the principle that we are stronger together, advocating for our interests and ensuring that every voice is heard and valued. Let us remember the resilience that has always defined us. Let us draw inspiration from the story of Israel—a nation that has overcome immense challenges and emerged stronger through its trials.

Pro-Palestinian encampments on the campuses of UC Irvine and Chapman University have been front of mind for many in our community. 

In response, the Federation issued a statement emphasizing the need for all leaders to actively oppose antisemitic hate and stand up for our values. It is crucial that no student should have to face such hostility or feel unsafe on their campus. We are grateful for the intervention by UCI leadership and law enforcement, which helped to restore civility and protect all students. We are fortunate to have strong student leadership on campus that is supported by Chabad on Campus and OC Hillel.
The Federation's Rose Project was honored to host State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, co-chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.
We are immensely grateful to Debbie and Jeff Margolis, Rose Council Chair, for graciously hosting an intimate luncheon where attendees engaged in a dynamic discussion with Assemblymember Gabriel concerning the recent uptick in antisemitic incidents, campus demonstrations, and the overarching strategy of the Golden State Plan to Counter Antisemitism. He shared important updates from ongoing conversations in the state capital and expressed his gratitude for the Rose Project's contributions to our community. He emphasized the importance of reporting antisemitic incidents online at CA vs. HATE because reporting has a direct effect on how funding is allocated. As the leading organization dedicated to upholding the values, interests, and security of Orange County’s Jewish community, we are committed to strengthening our working relationships with leaders throughout California.
This past week, we hosted two IDF soldiers, whose visit was made possible by Federation’s global partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel.
While here, the soldiers engaged with leaders, students, communal professionals, donors, and Holocaust survivors. Some 13 community partners benefited from their visit including all three Jewish day schools, several congregations, the Merage JCC, OC Hillel, and Federation’s Board, NextGen, and staff. The soldiers’ presence and stories provided a meaningful connection to the realities faced by those defending Israel and reinforced our solidarity and support for our homeland.
In these challenging times, our Annual Campaign remains vital to our mission. It enables us to enhance Jewish life in our community, combat antisemitism, and support Jewish communities globally. Your contributions to the Annual Campaign ensure we can continue our impactful programs throughout the year, responding to crises and fostering a strong, united community. Thank you for ensuring this important work continues and grows.

Am Yisrael Chai.
Shabbat Shalom,

Erik Ludwig


Erik Ludwig, PhD
President & CEO