By Amy Woods
Three decades have passed since a then 29-year-old Jewish woman embarked on a mission trip to Israel in an effort to make friends.
A recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, she had moved to Chicago to start her career.
“It pretty much changed my life,” Boca Raton resident Jill Rose said of the 1991 trip. “It created a home for me. I found a place to be.”
Rose returned to Chicago and immediately joined the leadership board at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. She has traveled to Israel more than 20 times since then — and counting.
“We try to go every year,” she said, referring to her husband, Michael, and three adult children. “We haven’t recently because of COVID.”
Rose is the 2021-22 season’s campaign chairwoman for the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. A volunteer at the organization since 2007, she previously served as campaign chairwoman for the federation’s Dorothy P. Seaman Department of Women’s Philanthropy and then as its chairwoman.
“I loved it,” she said. “I loved the women who were involved. The next logical step was to get involved in the broader general campaign.”
Rose, 59, will focus on three initiatives in her new role with the federation, the first of which is engaging families who have recently moved to South Florida.
“We are very, very blessed in Florida with the influx of people,” Rose said. “There are federations around the country, and many of them are watching their numbers dwindle. Our numbers are booming. The challenge is to make everyone aware of what’s going on in their new community, see the heart of their new community and feel vested in their new community so that they want to donate.”
Second, she wants to find ways to connect with young donors.
“Our hope is if we can educate and involve and become relevant and become a part of their lives, as people get more disposable income and more free time, they will turn to us and make us part of their lives,” Rose said. “I think everybody wants to connect with people with similar interests and similar values. We can help.”
Her third initiative involves maintaining ties with existing donors.
“I want to continue to engage our existing donors and make them aware and keep them apprised of all the good that their donations do,” Rose said. “The federation is just a tremendous social service. As our numbers are growing, our needs are growing. My job as campaign chairwoman is to raise money.”
The federation campus spans 100 acres and houses not only its administrative offices but also the Donna Klein Jewish Academy, Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton and Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida.
“If people get to the campus and see what’s going on in there, they’re amazed and proud and astounded,” Rose said. “We’re really trying to touch people, expose them and involve them.”