Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is a Federation?

A. Federation embodies a 3,500+ year-old tradition of caring that goes back to the giving of Torah. Federation is made up of the people who care enough to want to perfect an imperfect world. Federation reflects the passion of commitment, where tzedakah and a sense of social justice can make a difference in someone’s life.

Q. What is the Jewish Federation of Central New York?

A. The Jewish Federation of Central New York is a comprehensive communal organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing Jewish life throughout Central New York.  Established in 1918, Federation strives to build community and ensure the continuity of Jewish life by encouraging the participation of all Jews in the region in activities offered by its family of agencies, area synagogues and other Jewish organizations and institutions.  The Jewish Federation of Central New York is a 501 (c) 3 organization.

Q. What does Federation do compared to other Jewish organizations?

A. A Federation is the one place that belongs to every Jew. It is the place where philanthropy, volunteerism and commitment come together to make a difference – to repair the world (tikkun olam). A Federation is the one place where local beneficiary agencies along with worldwide organizations benefit from your single donation. A Federation is truly a multi-tasking organization that serves Jews locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Q. Why is there a campaign each year?

A. Each year, campaign funds are allocated to our local beneficiary agencies to support the services and programs that they provide to members of the Greater Syracuse community. In addition, there are national, Israeli and global Jewish needs that must also be addressed each and every year.

Q. Why is my gift to the Jewish Federation of CNY important?

A. The Annual Campaign is the backbone of Federation’s fund development effort.  One contribution to the Annual Campaign supports a host of programs provided by a network of local and overseas agencies.  Thousands of people, from the very youngest to the most senior are impacted by a single gift to the Jewish Federation of CNY Annual Campaign. Each and every gift, regardless of its size, represents the involvement and support by an individual or family in the welfare of every Jewish person in CNY, in America, in Israel and throughout the rest of the world.

Q. What is The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)?

A. The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), of which the Federation is a member, represents 157 Jewish Federations and 400 independent communities across North America which raise and distribute more than $3 billion annually for social welfare, social services and educational needs. JFNA provides life-saving and life-enhancing humanitarian assistance to those in need and translates Jewish values into social action on behalf of millions of Jews in hundreds of communities across North America, throughout Israel, in the former Soviet Union and in 60 countries around the world.

Q. How can I become more involved?

A. Individuals are truly the spark that builds Federation. By volunteering, you share the powerful values of Jewish tradition and continuity. You can help others do the mitzvot of saving Jewish lives and Jewish life. Contact the Jewish Federation of CNY to learn more about volunteering once or volunteering often. Call the Federation at 315-445-2040 ext.102 or visit the Volunteering page on this website.