Kickoff headliner predicts an extraordinary campaign year for Tidewater

by | Sep 13, 2013 | Featured

Audience members get in on the act.

Audience members get in on the act.

The morning after the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s 2014 Annual Campaign Kickoff, phones started ringing and emails started arriving in Campaign staffers offices.

“How did he do it? That was amazing? I’ve never been to an event like this before— it was great!”

The comments were in response to the featured performer at the September 10 UJFT Annual Campaign Kick-Off. Sidney Friedman, dubbed “master of all things psychic,” entertained an audience of more than 200 community members with psychic feats that were confounding and exhilarating at the same time.

In addition to guessing audience members’ thoughts and revealing (mostly) correct answers through words, drawings or piano accompaniment, Friedman emphasized the importance of Federation and the work it does, as well as the need to support it, through the annual campaign.

“I’ve been at close to 110 Federation events, in 80 communities across North America, so I’ve seen firsthand all the needs in those communities, from the elderly to the children,” he says. “The Federation is really a way of organizing Jewish communities throughout North America to share what we’ve gained—if we have a little bit of good fortune—with our community; with Israel, and with the rest of the Jewish world. It’s part of our culture—to give and to share. And it will come back to you in ways you can’t even imagine.”

The Kickoff event began at 6:30 pm with a community cocktail and hors’doeuvres reception at the Sandler Family Campus, followed by Friedman’s performance. The Kick-Off was preceded by two separate events as well—a reception recognizing the Federation’s Ben Gurion Society donors ($1000+ donors in the Young Adult Division), and a reception celebrating the official dedication of the Laura and Jerry Miller Family Library at the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. The Miller Library will serve as a community resource for the community’s Jewish educators and others wishing to research and study.

Miles Leon, president of UJFT, noted the attendance of so many community members and thanked all for attending. Amy Levy, chair of the 2014 Annual Campaign, also expressed her appreciation.

“Ours is a unique community,” said Levy. “Our accomplishments and good work far surpass what would normally be expected from a community of just 5,400 Jewish households. Federations across the country look to Tidewater as a leader and innovator in community-building and successful, creative campaigns. In many ways we serve as a “light unto the Federation communities…”

Levy outlined several goals for the Campaign year, which included a $4.7-million campaign total as well as the addition of 100 new donors.

As he closed his performance for the evening, Sidney Friedman left his audience with a final set of predictions: “This Campaign Year,” he prognosticated, “is going to be extraordinary. You will meet and surpass your campaign goals… I feel that very strongly. And I sense that this year will see more people talking and getting their friends involved. I predict you’ll see closer to 250 new donors, not just 100. And you’ll see more money too.”

Help ensure that Sidney Friedman’s prediction is correct by making a gift to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, by attending events, and by getting involved. Visit to find out more.

article and photos by Laine M. Rutherford