Federation is…

Decorating my pink beaded-pearled-laced kipah for Shabbat in my Jewish preschool and still using my pinkish-purple menorah made of wood and metal bolts to hold the candles

Wearing the size adult small t-shirt that swallowed up my little girl frame (that I would then wear as a night gown) and walking with my family along Lake Michigan for the Chicago Walk with Israel every May

Sitting in my car-seat as I drove with my mom across town to donate groceries to the Argentinean single-parent family in the summertime through an ARK program

Attending Israel’s 60th Birthday Party where all my family and friends were invited

Sitting next to my mom as we drove into the city with the boxes of books in the backseat, just a week after my bat mitzvah, ready to be donated to the Dina and Eli Field EZRA Multi-Service Center

Skipping camp for a summer to embark on my first trip to Israel with 30 teens from across the country, made possible by my Israel Experience Vouchers

Going to my synagogue every summer to hear the Israeli Tzofim Scouts sing and then sleeping over with my good friend who was hosting a Scout

Putting my video skills to a test and winning (!), as I transferred my poem about Israel from class into a video for the Walk with Israel Video Contest

Meeting the Maccabeats in person—listening to their songs on repeat before Hanukkah

Gaining a lifelong skill set for Israel advocacy through Write On for Israel—empowered to lead the collective pro-Israel voice on campus—after monthly meetings at home, 14 days in Israel, and 1.5 (Snow Day!) in Washington

Wanting to visit every campus’s Hillel at the colleges I visited, knowing where I’d spend my first Friday night dinner

Shaking Hillary’s hand

Finding my family in Kiryat Gat, traveling the world with my 10 and 11-year old Israeli campers, becoming Chanah’le, and running into the home’s shelter after the 8-year old below out his birthday cake candles

Writing about these experiences. Sharing the stories.

Taking the train into the city with my sister, seeing the other teens dressed in blue and white, and singing and dancing with the multi-generational Jewish community of Chicago amidst a time of war in our home a pond away

Meeting a Palestinian and journalist at the Target Café to talk about a future of peace … knowing we have a long way to go

Skipping class for a day with 6 other passionate students to drive into the city, schlepping the 2.5 hour trek, to absorb President Peres Shimon’s wisdom: “To be great means to serve a great cause”

Federation is our backyard, as learned at the JFNA General Assembly

Learning to go back to my roots

Learning that we’ve made it because ‘it’s fine’

Learning Tzedek issocial justice

Listening to our melody of Adon Olam

Understanding Kol Yisrael

Sketching my ideas

Seeing magic from solidarity

Acting the way we think

Sitting at the table

Listening to my Vice President share a story about Golda, his role model

Willing it … dreaming it

Feeling chesed

And Federation Will Be

About the Author
Hannah Schlacter is a student at the University of Illinois College of Business Honors Program. Passion, ambition, and drive embody her character and impact. Considered a leader in advocacy, she is deeply committed to Zionism, environmentalism, and entrepreneurship. Hannah seeks a career path that will allow her to impact these diverse passions.
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