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The Jewish Federation of Cleveland plays a central role in developing and maintaining a sense of unity among Cleveland's Jews - based on the traditional concept that "each Jew is responsible one for the other." The Federation, working closely with synagogues and other Jewish organizations, builds community and provides a focal point for unified communal action by strengthening the shared purposes and values of Cleveland's Jews and helping to pass them on to succeeding generations. Central to these purposes and values is the development of a community based on the ideal of tikkun olam - repair of the world - and tzedakah - righteousness, charity, and social justice.
The Federation - often called "the central address of the Jewish community" - is comprised of volunteers, contributors, and member agencies, seeking to meet the various human needs of the Jewish community. Its funds are derived primarily from the annual Campaign for Jewish Needs (formerly the Jewish Welfare Fund Appeal) and then allocated to local, national, and overseas beneficiaries. Federation also receives financial support from United Way Services for a number of its local member agencies. In addition to fund-raising and budgeting, other primary Federation functions include community planning and research, community relations, leadership development, philanthropic planning and endowment programs. The Federation also maintains a community calendar to help organizations set dates for major events, matches volunteers to community projects through Jewish Volunteers in Action, links community members to overseas activities through the Overseas Connections Committee, and provides several direct services such as chaplaincy and cemetery preservation.