Planting the seeds to create your own legacy story
In the JCF's latest Money Matters column for the Jewish Community Voice, we meet Barbara Rothberg, who tells a beautiful story about why she decided to leave a legacy gift for the Southern New Jersey Jewish community.
The following is a reprint of the column:
April 19, 2022
Every legacy donor has a unique, meaningful story about why they have chosen to leave a gift that benefits the future of the Jewish community here in Southern New Jersey.
One such donor is Barbara Rothberg, who exudes passion for our Jewish community. Motivated in part by the LIFE & LEGACY initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to leave a legacy gift, Barbara has also taken it upon herself to inspire others to do the same.
What follows is Barbara’s legacy story, which is perfect for springtime and may just plant the seed to create your own legacy gift if you haven’t already. If you have a legacy story that you would like to share, or if you would like to learn more about leaving an after-lifetime gift and developing your own legacy story, please contact any local Jewish organization or reach out to the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. directly at (856) 673-2528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now on to Barbara’s message:
“I’m a gardener, and as a group, we gardeners are optimistic about the future. We hold seeds in our hands that may be no bigger than a grain of sand, and we know that someday, thanks to a force that we can’t totally comprehend, that seed will grow into a mighty tree, or a delicate flower, or a juicy tomato. Each seed knows what to do. Our job is to prepare the soil, plant seeds in the right place, so that they will flourish, remove weeds that threaten their growth, protect them from hungry critters, nourish them with water (not too much), and sit back and watch the seeds become what they are supposed to be.
“Some gardeners love to plant one-of-a-kind specimens—spectacular show-stoppers that neighbors admire with green-thumbed envy, and many gardens boast at least one unique plant as a focal point. For my garden, I’ve chosen to cultivate a meadow. With a diverse collection of native and wild flowers and grasses, no one plant stands out alone. It is the combination of many plants, each blooming at its own right time, that creates a year-round safe haven that attracts beneficial pollinators, a variety of small animals, and precious migratory birds. (The veggies are planted in my greenhouse for their own protection.)
“Just as important as being a responsible gardener, I’m a proud participant in LIFE & LEGACY—and for the same reasons. Preserving our Jewish future begins with us. We are the ones who must plan and prepare for our next generations by leaving a legacy gift to our Jewish institutions.
“I’ve chosen to plant my legacy gift in two ‘gardens.’ The first is my synagogue. This is the place that connects me with my Jewish heritage and holidays, familiar rituals, meaningful worship, and continuing religious education. The second is the Jewish Community Relations Council, the agency that connects me with my community, diverse friendships, and common problems we work to solve together.
“Some donors, fortunately, will be able to provide a larger legacy gift. We can’t all be specimen plants, but we can all be part of a powerful meadow that cherishes its inhabitants and provides opportunities for our children, and for their children to become Jewish inheritors of our dreams.
“Thank you for joining me in the LIFE & LEGACY garden and planting your legacy. The future of this community is blossoming.”
From all of us at the JCF, thank you, Barbara, for your legacy commitment and for sharing your vivid and impactful story. Now, dear reader, what’s your legacy story?
Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, and sweet Pesach.