Our History

THE 80’s

In the early 1980s, several members of the Jewish community recognized the need for a local organization to coordinate non synagogue related Jewish charitable contributions, fund raising and local Jewish social and educational activities. Discussions to form a Jewish Federation for Tallahassee and surrounding areas began. The effort was spearheaded by Bruno Linder and Art Cooper with able legal assistance provided by Bill Linder and Jeff & Lila Abrams. The organization, known as the Apalachee Federation of Jewish Charities, was formed and included representatives from the two synagogues, as well as representatives from each of the Jewish organizations in the community at the time: Hillel, National Council of Jewish Women, Hadassah and B’nai Brith. It also included community members at large.The new organization became “official” when Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Florida Dept. of State on August 4, 1983. The By-Laws of the Federation stated that the primary purpose of the organization is “to solicit and collect funds and endowments for distribution . . . for Tzedaka-charity, righteousness, justice- and Hesed, loving kindness and to further Jewish education.”

The Tallahassee Federation was started in the 1980s. 

Here are highlights of our history as compiled by Past President Alvin Stauber

The 21st Century (2000-2014)

In 2002, Federation co-sponsors “Senior Shmooze”. The organization’s activities include monthly discussion groups and cultural programs and continue until 2011.

Israel Emergency Campaign raises $22,000 in summer 2002.

In 2003, Federation co-sponsors (with Congregation Shomrei Torah and Temple Israel) theannual Israeli Independence Day celebration, an event that continues to the present.

From 2005 to 2008, Federation sponsors and invites the Jewish community to its annual Purim Ball.

Around 2006 and continuing to the present, Federation co-sponsors with Temple Israel and Shomrei Torah an Annual Fund Drive to Help Needy Children in Israel. Through Chanukah 2013, the Fund Drive had raised more than $12,000.

In 2006, Federation helps to create the Tallahassee-Ramat Ha-Sharon Sister City relationship. Federation continues its support to the present by helping to underwrite the costs of Israeli science teachers visiting Tallahassee for the summer to work and study at the FSU Mag Lab and by providing hospitality to the teachers.

In 2007 Federation creates the Teen Philanthropy Initiative, supported by a grant from the Rintels Foundation, to empower Jewish teens to help meet community needs through a process that helps them develop decision-making skills and the ability to work collaboratively. The Initiative continues to the present. As of the end of its sixth year, in spring 2014, the Teen Board had made grants totaling more than $60,000 to local and Israeli organizations.

THE 90’s

As part of Operation Exodus (in which North American Federations raised $1 billion to rapidly resettle more than a million Soviet Jews in Israel and North America), two Jewish families from the former Soviet Union—the Bayevskys and the Bergmans—are brought to Tallahassee in June 1990 by the Apalachee Federation to start a new life here. A third family arrives later in 1990. The Bayevsky family will next year celebrate their silver anniversary of residency in Tallahassee.

Beginning in 1993 and continuing to the present, Federation issues Position Statements and conducts meetings with School Officials onReligion in the Schools, focusing on ensuring the fair and respectful treatment of Jewish students in the school system. In addition, Federation prepares and distributes to the school system and to local colleges a 2-year calendar of Jewish holidays and observances.

Beginning in 1993 and continuing to the present, Federation Focus debuts as the Federation newsletter.

On September 12, 1993, Federation holds its 10th Anniversary Dinner & Annual Campaign Kick-off event at Annella’s Restaurant. Keynote speaker for the occasion is Congressman Pete Peterson.

Partnering with the Tampa Holocaust Museum in February 1994, Federation brings “And There Was A Train Full of Children” art display to Governors Square Mall.