Ted and Jamie Friedland

The Jewish Federation of Omaha is pleased to announce that Jamie and Ted Friedland, who were 2021 Annual Campaign Chairs, have been named the Spirit of Federation award recipients. The Phil and Terri Schrager Spirit of Federation Award is given annually to honor one man and one woman who have demonstrated personal commitment, dedication, and leadership to the Federation and/or its Agencies. Jamie and Ted will receive the award during the JFO Annual Meeting, June 7.

    The Friedlands knew from the onset this would be a unique year. “Everyone has been affected in one way or another by the COVID-19 virus,” Jamie said at the time. “Some people are in greater need than they have ever been before. I expect that Jewish Family Service will be a priority need this year for help to provide food, mental health support and everyday needs. We also want to make sure we are doing all we can to protect each other from this crazy virus that we are continuously learning more about. We anticipate that the in-person Federation events that we are all used to will be done online and over the phone this year.”

    Their predictions came true, but they never hesitated in leading the Annual Campaign. “Louri Sullivan and Steve Levinger were very persuasive in getting us to say yes,” they said, “but it makes both of us very proud to be a part of such an amazing and generous community.”

    The Jewish Federation is important, they said, “because they help ensure the stability of the Omaha Jewish Community by providing financial support for generations to come. During this past year, we have again learned that this community really steps up in the time of need.  It is so nice to see different generations of people come together to work on the Federation Campaign every year!”

    “Ted has served as President of the JFO Foundation in addition to his term on the foundation board since 2016,” Louri Sullivan said. “As President of the JFOF he was helpful with exploring the potential of a PJ Library Life & Legacy initiative. He was also on the ADL board from 2013-2019 and the JSS board from 2013-2014. Ted has helped with Campaign over the years and co-chaired the 2021 Campaign with Jamie. Jamie and Ted co-chaired the 2018 Community event. They have also been huge supporters of PJ Library.

    “Ted gave countless hours to the Foundation and the work that they do with the Federation in addition to his passion for the Federation and our mission. When asked to co-chair the campaign, they wanted to be sure they would be able to do a great job and were very thoughtful about engaging new volunteers and reaching a never before reached goal.”

    Both Jamie and Ted grew up in Omaha.

    “Our families have always been involved in the Jewish community in various ways,” Ted said. “I attended the Jewish community center preschool when I was young,” Jamie added, “and as I grew up I continued going to the J for dance class and gymnastics. As I got older I was active in BBYO, was a camp counselor at the JCC day camp, and also was an overnight camp counselor. I was lucky to be on the first Federation-sponsored Artza trip to Israel - it was all Omaha teens. What an experience that was!”

    While the Friedland’s enthusiasm for our Federation was cultivated early, nowadays they know first-hand how important a robust Federation is for the next generation.

    “As we grew up and became adults,” Jamie said, “Ted and I have continued to be active members of the Jewish community. We have both served on various boards over the years. JFO’s presence has been felt by our family in various ways such as mission trips to Israel, and Jewish Community Center programming such as sports, swimming, preschool and let’s not forget about PJ Library. Our 5-year-old looks forward to getting his books in the mail and attending PJ Library’s community-wide programming.”

    “Ted and Jamie have stepped up to the plate as true leaders,” Louri said. “They are hands on volunteers as well as very supportive financially of our mission and all the work that we do. They show up for all programs, use our campus and are positive advocates in the community. They asked an amazing group of volunteers to help with Campaign and all said yes; many for the first time. Ted and Jamie are true role models who inspire others to serve the Omaha Jewish Community.”

    Congratulations to Jamie and Ted!