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Jewish Federation celebrates Puerto Rican partnership

On August 29, 2018, Victor Ruiz, Executive Director of Esperanza, Inc., and Alejandra Fishman, a college student and member of Hillel at Kent State University, joined together on stage at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 2019 Campaign for Jewish Needs Launch Event.

The two Puerto Ricans discussed the connection between Cleveland and Puerto Rico – not only through their families, but the Puerto Rican government’s recognition of the contributions the Jewish community has made to the way of life on the Caribbean island, as well as the friendship of the Israeli people. 

Victor Ruiz and Alejandra Fishman

Alejandra spoke about how moving to Northeast Ohio for college was a major change for her, but how she felt at home immediately when she stepped on campus at Kent State University. “The community welcomed me with open arms. No one ever questioned me, no one questioned my Judaism,” she said. “That was an amazing feeling for me, and it’s been that way for the past four years.”

When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, over 120 displaced families relocated to Cleveland. Through the Federation’s Community Relations Committee (CRC), which builds and sustains relationships with diverse ethnic and religious groups throughout the city, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Endowment Fund Committee was able to support the Spanish American Committee for a Better Community (SAC) with assistance caring for these new Clevelanders.

The funds enabled SAC to hire a case manager that helped these families access childcare services, financial literacy education, housing counseling, job-readiness training, employment placement services, and adult education opportunities.

Victor and Alejandra gave our community an opportunity to come together to share everyone’s perspectives on our complex relationships. “This is a group effort,” said Alejandra. “If we leave it to one person, nothing will get done.”

For more information about the Federation’s Community Relations Committee, visit www.jewishcleveland.org.


Copyright © 1989 to 2018 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/02/18 14:02:57 -0700.




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