It’s Never Too Early to Make a Legacy Gift

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 5:17pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation


When talking with Erinn and Felix Portnoy, the commitment and love they have for our Jewish community is obvious. As parents of very young children, they feel compelled to step up and provide for the Jewish future of the next generation, and were thrilled to be able to do so by leaving a gift through the LIFE & LEGACY program.

Erinn was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina. After her brother (Adam) moved to Norfolk to start his dental practice, her parents moved here to retire. Erinn and Felix followed a few years later.

Felix was born in Moldova, USSR, and in 1978 moved to Israel. He spoke emotionally about the activism of Jews and Jewish organizations in the United States that enabled him and many other Jews leave the USSR. The Soviet Jewry movement was a long struggle, but Felix stressed that in many ways it was what helped American Jewish communities form and strengthen Federations, Community Relations Councils, and other organizations. Felix's family moved to Kiryat Yam, which coincidentally happens to be Tidewater Federation's sister city in Israel. In 2004, Felix moved to North Carolina as a student, and that is where he met Erinn.

Erinn believes that her parents really shaped her Jewish identity and modeled how to be and how to live a Jewish life, emphasizing tzedakah and tikkun olam. "It was a small Jewish community, and we lived our lives around the synagogue. My mom made me a life member of Hadassah in elementary school. They really directed my life to becoming who I am Jewishly and as a person."

Felix grew up in Israel, and claims that it was easy to be Jewish there. "Everyone went to a Jewish school", he jokes. "But when I moved to the United States it was very different. Unless you actively seek Jewish involvement, you won't have it. I learned a lot from Erinn's family and they really reconnected me with my tradition."

Erinn and Felix agree about how they want to be remembered and the kind of legacy they hope to leave. Felix claims that he would like to be remembered as a family person. "That is very important to me. I try to devote as much as I can to my wife and children." Erinn agrees, and adds that she is so glad that "Our kids will remember when their dad went to a Hanukkah party at their school, or when he dressed up as an Israeli soldier on Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) and marched them around the gym. They'll know that the Jewish community was important to us."

The Portnoy's hope is for the Jewish community to, at the very least, maintain the same level of services that we provide today, and hopefully improve it. "The generation before us did a great job of providing for us. That is why we are so happy to be able to participate in the LIFE & LEGACY program."

As a younger couple, when the Portnoys first heard about after-life giving they didn't expect to be able to participate. When they heard about the Legacy Match Life Insurance program, they realized that being younger was an advantage because they can get a lower rate and be able to leave a more substantial gift to the community. Through the legacy match program, TJF pays a portion of the premiums on policies of $100,000 for a single life policy and $250,000 for a two-life policy. The donor saves money by paying only part of the premium, which is also tax deductible.

As Felix says, "I appreciate the opportunity the Tidewater Jewish Foundation gave us to do this. It really amplified our gift and made it possible for us and our friends and other people in our community to take an active role in the LIFE & LEGACY program." Erinn agrees, adding how easy everything was to do. "It was so easy, and because of the match we were able to have an even greater impact.

For more information on the Legacy Match Life Insurance program, please call Barb Gelb, Director of Philanthropy, at 757.965.6105.

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