A Home for Our Values: Alan and Marcia Leifer

Alan and Marcia Leifer have journeyed across the Jewish world. After going to some 25 countries around the globe with JDC, the Leifers talk about why they’ve chosen to support the organization that changed their lives.

By JDC Staff | August 26, 2021

Alan and Marcia Leifer

For Alan and Marcia Leifer, supporting JDC is a marriage between the head and the heart.

“We connect with JDC intellectually, experientially, and because of our values” Alan said. “Traveling to some 25 countries around the world and visiting JDC operations there, we’ve realized we can help the ongoing renaissance of the Jewish people with our individual activism.”

The couple considers JDC to be “the Jewish people’s 9-1-1” — the single organization best poised to respond to whatever emerging challenges befall Jews around the world.

“We have boots on the ground, and we’re active in 70 countries,” Alan said. “We have nearly 1,000 of the bravest, most courageous employees who go into war zones and pandemic zones to help Jews and Jewish communities wherever they are. We’re the people who get things done.”

Reflecting on trips to destinations as diverse as a synagogue in Morocco and meetings with local young leaders in Belarus and throughout the region, Marcia said she’s been struck by how warmly JDC supporters and staff are received by local Jewish communities across the globe.

“These communities are often small, but there’s joy and happiness every time we go. Our trips, I hope, light a fire for them and show them we care,” she said. “You can go to Board meetings and read reports, but when you see that reaction
from people who know how JDC has changed their lives, it’s so impactful.”

The Second Century Campaign (SCC) is so important because JDC must have the resources it needs to respond nimbly for generations to come, the couple said.

“I don’t want to see us fade away after 100 years,” Marcia said. “JDC has a great track record, and I have faith they will continue to do the good work that they have done.”

“JDC doesn’t onlychange other people’s lives.It changed ours, too.”.

Her husband noted that many nonprofits can fundraise from a wide range of American society, but Jewish organizations must depend on the support of a small but generous minority.

“For JDC, if we want to have one of the finest nonprofits in the humanitarian space that works globally on behalf of Jews and others, we have to build a robust endowment,” he said. “It’s even more incumbent on us to ensure that this organization that speaks to our values and our family’s 125-year trip through our grandparents being refugees, years of economic deprivation, and then building a better life will be there for the rest of the Jewish world when they do the same.”

Ultimately, Alan said, supporting JDC feels like a natural part of a life built on service to the Jewish community.

“We’ve worked for overseas causes of the Jewish people for decades through our federation involvement, and we feel like honoring our lifelong commitment to philanthropy by establishing a legacy endowment to JDC is the right message for our family and community,” he said. “JDC doesn’t only change other people’s lives. It changed ours, too.”

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