Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month
04/26/2023 · Diversity and Inclusion
Marianne Such-Baer, cooking coach at our Alexandria, Virginia store, says she is happy to work for a company that cares about their people and celebrates their heritage. As a Jewish woman, she appreciates the opportunities she is given to share her culture and traditions with her colleagues, particularly the purpose behind many Jewish holidays and the food that is central to so many of those celebrations. She says Wegmans embraces and celebrates those holidays as well.
“Wegmans celebrates the Jewish heritage through specific emails to customers and store signage referencing important Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Passover and Hanukkah,” she said. “I also see this in the recipes for traditional Jewish foods, like brisket and latkes, that are available on our website, as are listings of numerous holiday-specific products like matzoh, hamantaschen, and sufgoniot (Hanukkah donuts).”
Marianne, who joined Wegmans eight years ago, also says Wegmans reflects the practice of Tikkun Olam, which references actions intended to repair and improve our communities. Wegmans does this through supporting community organizations in the areas where we have stores. This includes northern Virginia where Marianne volunteers at Good Shepard Housing, a nonprofit organization providing housing and services to low-income families who face homelessness.
Our Alexandria store has been donating to Good Shepherd since the store opened in 2015, providing more than $18,000 to date. These donations help Good Shepherd address community needs including food insecurity, tutoring for children, and hosting community events for the whole family.
Donations from Wegmans also help the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, New York, address food and housing insecurity in the community, as well as supporting the educational programs the Foundation offers to the community. Debbie Goldberg, Jewish Federation chief philanthropic officer, says Wegmans’ support is so much more than donations or corporate sponsorship; it’s about understanding and supporting the Jewish community.
“Food is a fundamental part of Jewish traditions, and we take it very, very seriously,” Goldberg said. “Wegmans is such an important part of the Rochester Jewish Community, through both direct and indirect support. Through dollars and donations which are direct, and then indirectly by just giving me the ability to purchase everything I need for Shabbat dinner at Wegmans. And that shows day-to-day community support.”
Monica Gebell, Community Relations Director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, shared her appreciation for the ability to share a meal during a recent seminar. Our Wegmans community team donated food, beverages, and flowers for the “Understanding Antisemitism in DEI Work” community seminar the Federation recently hosted.
“It wasn’t really just about the food,” said Gebell, “it was about being able to truly welcome people in; we were able to provide kosher and halal products so that all participants could eat and feel welcome. The donation underscored the ‘inclusion’ aspect of our DEI program and lent the workshop a truly communal feel because every person was able to eat. Participants let us know how much that meant to them.”
Hosting seminars is just part of the work the organization does. The Jewish Federation assists with many needs in the Rochester area, whether it is food, housing, or other issues the larger community is facing. As we celebrate Jewish American Heritage month, we want to thank the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester for all they do to make our community better.