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“Life has changed so much in terms of how people view their Judaism,” explained Lee Wielansky, 61, a St. Louis entrepreneur. “Everyone gets so caught up in their busy lives they tend to forget what’s important,” Wielansky said, who is guilty of this himself at times. But as he gets older, he thinks more about his Jewish roots.

“And Jewish Federation is the vehicle I’ve chosen to support my Judaism and give back.” He’s a big proponent of federated giving – one gift goes where the needs are greatest. Federation’s expertise and position at the center of the Jewish community enables smart and dedicated professionals and volunteer leaders to work together to make smart first-rate funding decisions. “I really like the fact that when I give a gift, the decisions are made for me as to which programs and services need my dollars the most.”

This year, as Jewish Federation’s Community Campaign Co-Chair, he is stressing the need to thank people, to let them know how important they are and how much Jewish Federation appreciates their gift — regardless of the amount. “All Federation can do,” he said, “is to give people the information and make them realize it’s a really worthwhile cause.”

After the campaign ends, Wielansky has a burning desire to visit Israel for the first time. “I want to lead a small group, meet top officials, tour areas that others haven’t had access to in the past and dig deep into what it means to be a Jew – to connect to our roots.”