Home Community ‘What a priceless gift you have given me!’

‘What a priceless gift you have given me!’

JCFR President Ellen Renee Adams dances with a resident of the LeDor VaDor Senior Home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in August 2019. She was on a special Jewish Federations of North America Leadership Mission.

Oprah Winfrey said, “What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”

Ellen Renee Adams Photo by Adrienne Winkelmann Epstein

Reflecting on my 4 years as President of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond brings a variety of emotions pride, inspiration, joy and sadness among them, Fulfilled is the word that rises to the top. Leading our amazing community has been my greatest privilege!!!!

Whether it has been sharing celebrations, handling crises, or the important work of supporting, inspiring and build Jewish life that we do day in day out, I have treasured each opportunity.

So many have said thank you for the work and time I put in, but the reality is I have been paid back in so many ways, my heart is so, so full.

As I began my tenure, I had a vision and plans to help grow our community to the next level. Of course, even with 4 years, there is never enough time!!!!!

There is much to be proud of, building our community security infrastructure, record fundraising and grantmaking, new programs, strengthened relationships among them, but the top of my list was mentoring the young women.

I believe that if we are to have a Jewish future we have to we have to invest in the next generation and role model Jewish leadership every day.

‘Proudest Moments’

My proudest moments have come from the creation of our Pearl Society and sharing in its growth. These young ladies are smart, talented and passionate about Jewish life.

They want to learn what we do, and why we do it and they are ready to step up. Together we have listened to accomplished women tell their stories, made challah, engaged with our local agencies and built new friendships rooted in our Jewish community.

They ARE our future – and as I have been fortunate to know them individually and as a group, I feel pride, and confidence in our future. They appreciate our rich heritage and traditions, and aspire to secure a bright future. Investing in our young people is the gift we give our community, and it has been my joy to play a part.

Looking back, I have had some amazing opportunities to see the power of our collective action.

I have traveled to Argentina, Uruguay, New York, Israel, Miami, and the Polish-Ukrainian border. I have been gifted with seeing first-hand what it means when we say, Kol arevim zeh b’zeh. All Jews take care of one another.

Ellen Renee Adams does a craft project with a child in Ukraine several years ago.

Whether in happiness or hardship, it is amazing to be anywhere in the world and know that we are one people. I have laughed and cried, hugged and danced with Jews in faraway places, and it is the most unbelievable feeling.

To know that If my grandparents had selected a different path , then I would be them, and they would be me. We are all Jewish together. Yachad, lev a lev. Together, heart to heart.

Backbone of our Community

The Federation is the backbone of our community. Our infrastructure is so strong and well defined that we are prepared and poised to take on whatever comes our way to protect, enhance, and strengthen Jews and Jewish life here, and around the world.

Thank you to our professional staff and lay leaders for your passion to do this important work. I have learned from you and with you. What a great ride it has been!

Thank you Daniel. You are my friend, and my perfect partner. We have cheered each other on, and helped each other grow as leaders. There have been unanticipated challenges and great successes. But I would not have wanted to share this journey with anyone else.

It has been a blessing and an honor. Your love and care for the Jewish community is inspiring and we are so lucky to have you!!!!

Thank you again to our incredible community for your trust and support.
We ARE Richmond together!!!
What a priceless gift you have given me. Chazak, Chazak, v’nitchazek.
May we always go from strength to strength.

With deepest gratitude,
Ellen Renee