<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=930614130981484&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

- Michael Balaban
Jewish Federation President and CEO


As May continues, we not only pass the seven month mark since this war began, but we also observe Jewish American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. Appropriately timed, given the toll this crisis has had on our community at home and in Israel.  


As Jewish people, we are born with a certain amount of generational trauma from past persecution, and this trauma has been exacerbated since the horrific violence and dehumanization of Oct. 7.


It continues to be intensified by the overwhelming number of misguided, antisemitic encampments on college campuses locally and across the country, calling for American universities to divest from Israel. I have heard and seen the violent words and actions induced by some of these protests. We have all seen these accounts in news clips and other firsthand accounts. The gross misunderstanding and ignorance of these students is not only disappointing, but also dangerous.


I am thankful for the work of Governor Shapiro, the Philadelphia Police Department and the University of Pennsylvania Police Department in disbanding these hateful protests on University of Pennsylvania’s campus this morning.


In light of the diminished mental health incurred by these recent events and this ongoing war, the Jewish Federation is partnering with Jewish Federations of North America's BeWell initiative, Stanford University and other leading U.S. Jewish organizations to organize a survey of American Jewish teen wellbeing. I encourage you to bring this survey to all the Jewish teens in your life. The better we understand their sources of stress, the better we can collaborate on strategies to help them thrive.


In that same vein, the Jewish Federation has always viewed mental health as a key priority. Through our annual campaign, we fund a number of organizations locally and in Israel that specifically support teens’ mental health, like Moving Traditions. Since this war broke out, these young adults have been constantly bombarded with overpowering, anti-Israel voices on their social media feeds, and now on their campuses as well. I am proud of the work of our grantee organizations, like Gumat Chen — which we also supported with emergency funding through our Philly Stands with Israel campaign — to help these teens find stability and community during these dark times.


Together, we can combat the barrage of disinformation and malevolence that has become so prevalent. As long as we stand united as a Jewish people working side-by-side with our allies , we will never be alone. I am proud to announce that just this week, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a resolution which officially declared May as Jewish American Heritage Month and July as Muslim American Heritage Month. These resolutions were co-sponsored by Jewish and Muslim representatives, a testament to how when we come together as different communities, great things happen.


We will rely on this support as we prepare for Yom Hazikron (Day of Remembrance for Israelis fallen in battle and terrorist attacks) followed by Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence Day) this coming week. Let us remember those who have lost their lives defending the Jewish homeland and keep their memories as a blessing when commemorating Israel’s 76 years of existence.  



If you would like to receive Israel emergency communications, please click here.