Why Should The Yorktown Jewish Center Have A Legacy Plan?

Well, let’s start by asking yourself a few fundamental questions. 

-        Do I care if the Jewish people survive or disappear over the next generation or two? 

-        Do I want my children and grandchildren to be Jewish, have a Jewish spiritual home, and be a part of a thriving Jewish community? 

-        Is it important to the world that Judaism live on? 

If your answer to these questions is “Yes,” then you too believe that Jewish survival – in Israel and around the world -- is very important.  You understand that the history of the Jewish people is nothing less than extraordinary in the development of human civilization.  You recognize that ours is an ancient and rich human tapestry.  You believe that our obligation is to be “a light to the nations,” and that our mission -- Tikkun Olam – is to repair a broken world.  For you too “legacy” is a word that resonates.

For more than 3,000 years our forbearers withstood the wrath of the pagan world, and then the Christian world, to keep this divine spark alive.  From destruction and exile in Babylonia, to destruction and dispersal by Rome, to the Crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms, and finally, the Holocaust, each one of those generations suffered and died, but our faith survived.  Even now, the fate of the Jewish people is not secure.  Instability in the Middle East is growing.  Persecution of Jews is increasing with the rise of a virulent form of anti-Semitism in Western Europe and here.  And more sinister anti-Israel activities are spreading and assuming the false patina of acceptability.  That is why now, more than ever, we need to be the beacons of light and truth for future generations.

More than 60 years ago, a handful of families decided to build a spiritual home for Jewish people in Yorktown.  They did not just do it for themselves.  They made a financial commitment that there would be a spiritual home for all Jewish people who came to this area, long after they and their children were gone.  It was for those who came after them.  This was a deep commitment to the survival of Judaism.  You could say they “paid it forward.” 

If we want our children and grandchildren to have a synagogue and Jewish community to be there for them, wherever they end up, then families like the founders of the YJC must be there for them.  This, then, is the modern covenant.  Each of us, in each of our communities across the globe, must make sure that synagogues are sustained not just for ourselves, but for other people’s children who come after us.  If we want others to do it for our kids, how can we do less?


What Is A Legacy Plan?


A legacy plan is not a campaign.

No pledges will be solicited.  No forms submitted.  No posters.  No public recognition.

The only recognition for participating in the YJC Legacy Plan will be the satisfaction we get when we look into the mirror and know that we did the right thing for the Jewish people.

Participating in the YJC Legacy plan is simple to do, but it starts with a serious and very personal discussion, first between spouses, and then with our children, so that they understand how fundamental our commitment is to sustaining the Jewish community in this country.

A legacy plan does not require you to donate anything from your current pool of assets.  It’s a commitment in the future, after you and your spouse are gone, to leave a portion of your estate to the YJC.  It can be a flat amount or a percentage.  The benefit of a percentage is that is self-correcting.  That is, regardless of whether your assets increase or decrease between now and when your estate is distributed to your heirs, the proportion of your sustaining gift is never more or less than you intend it to be.  It is also easy for your children to understand.  For example:

“Our decision to make this commitment means that instead of splitting 100% of our estate, you will split 95%, with the YJC receiving 5%.”   

If you have an abiding commitment to the Jewish people and to a Jewish presence in Northern Westchester and Putnam, this is the best vehicle to sustain our faith community over the long-term.

How Do We Set Up Our Legacy Commitment?


This is the easy part.  If you have a Will, adding a simple paragraph will accomplish it.  If you have beneficial assets that do not pass through your estate, such as life insurance, IRAs, or a 401(k) account, you can name the YJC as a beneficiary using a modest fixed percentage.  Your attorney can do this for you. 

If you agree that making this commitment to sustain the Jewish people and to keep faith with the many generations of Jews who nurtured that faith so we could inherit it, and to being a beacon of light and truth to generations still to come is the right thing to do, then don’t delay in executing this commitment.

The satisfaction of knowing you’ve done the right thing will be your immediate reward.  

If you would like to know more, please contact the president of the Yorktown Jewish Center.