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The UJA-Federation of New York raised $43 million at its annual campaign kickoff last week, funding that will go toward Jewish families in need throughout the world.
The fund-raising event held at the home of former Bear Sterns chairman and CEO Alan "Ace" Greenberg and his wife, Kathryn, in Manhattan last Wednesday brought together more than 85 philanthropic and business leaders from the New York Jewish community.
Despite the worldwide recession and the resulting impact on philanthropy, the amount raised by the federation matched the total in 2008, according to Jerry Levin, the chairman of the UJA-Federation of New York and a former CEO and chairman of AOL Time Warner. He said the money raised will have a profound impact on New Yorkers of all backgrounds and on Jews from around the world.
"Perhaps in no other room in this city or country would fewer than a hundred individuals come together to raise this exceptional sum to fund services needed now more than ever," Levin said at the fund-raiser. "We're living in extraordinary times, an era already being called the Great Recession. Given these financial conditions, when a number of individuals who have given so generously in the past could not make the same contribution, others in the room stepped forward to give significantly more to raise tens of millions of dollars when those contributions are needed most."
Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, a beneficiary agency of UJA-Federation, delivered the keynote address.
Sharansky lauded UJA-Federation's unique role in the Jewish community and its partnership with JAFI and the critical challenges facing world Jewry.