Pledger Spotlight: Jackie Goldstein, Atlanta
Why did you take the Jewish Future Pledge?
During COVID, I think we were frightened and thinking about our own mortality. That time was sobering, but in hindsight, lockdown gave me the luxury of downtime to really look at my legacy. The more I got into it, the more I wanted to figure out what my priorities were and how I wanted to deal with my valuables of money, wisdom and stuff. It motivated me to have conversations with people so they would be aware of what I wanted.
Somewhere along the journey, I was told about the Jewish Future Pledge – and signed it. Up until that point, I had not given much thought to allocating charitable contributions in my will. Since signing the Jewish Future Pledge, 100% of my charitable giving will be going to Jewish organizations.
Why is it so important to take steps to establish your Jewish legacy?
First and foremost, I’m a Jew. It impacts how I spend my time and resources and I want those values reflected in the way I can impact the world after my death.
One way I did this was to have conversations about my legacy with important people in my life, which some people find hard. But I didn’t think of these legacy discussions as “difficult conversations”. If I had started with the mindset, ‘this is going to be tough’, then it likely would have been.
Instead, I saw them as a wonderful opportunity and learned how beautiful these conversations can be. They gave me a chance to discuss the things that mattered to me with the people that mattered to me; a chance to assess my priorities and to make sure I shared the stories that I wanted to share. It’s lovely to open the door to memories and hear the difference you’ve made and consider what you want to leave behind.
Can you describe your relationship with the State of Israel?
I had been studying Judaism with Melton (School of Adult Jewish Learning) for several years before going on a tour of Israel. The night before this tour was supposed to start, they took us to Hebrew University and asked us to go out on the balcony that overlooks the city- to just stand quietly and to take it all in.
As I looked out over the Old City, I heard voices: of my Dad, my Aunt, other relatives, and of people I didn’t know. All of them were telling me how glad and proud they were that I was there, how they had missed me and loved me. Prior to that event, I knew that I loved Israel and I was glad that I was there, but it was at that moment I realized that Israel loved me back, Israel had missed me, was glad I was there, and was proud of me. I recognized that it is a two-way relationship.
Since then, every time I go to the Kotel, I put my slip of paper in the wall with the same message: “Help me. Help You.”
Jackie is an Atlanta-based Creative Director, and is currently working on a project for observing Yom HaShoah.