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It started with a swim on a hot day. Wendy Born was still a newcomer to the Lehigh Valley in 1978 when her husband Ross suggested she try the pool at the Jewish Community Center. That led to years of communal involvement and, now, an insurance policy that will help keep the Jewish community strong well into the future.
Ross was from the area, and the couple had returned to Allentown so he could join his family's candy business. They bought the house where they still live today and settled in. Having grown up in the Chicago area where there are lots of Jews, it came as a surprise for Wendy to learn that here "there are just 8,000 of us!" Unaccustomed to Jewish community involvement, she nevertheless went to the JCC that day. In time, she became a volunteer, accepted a part-time job there, and became president of the JCC. She also served a three-year term as president of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
In the meantime, Wendy learned about insurance from her father, who had been an insurance agent; that gave her the idea for the policy she now has. The beneficiary is the Jewish Federation, which is also designated as the owner of the policy. The proceeds will someday be used to endow Wendy's Lion of Judah pin, providing funds for the Jewish community into the future.
An insurance policy established when a person is young and healthy has reasonable premiums, so it's a good idea to do this early, Wendy points out. She set hers up in the year 2000. And because the beneficiary is already designated, there is no need to wonder whether children or grandchildren will carry out the original wishes.
"When you invest in something like a house and put a lot of money into it, you don't want to just stop all of a sudden, because the house will crumble," Wendy says of her decision. "I feel like I've put a lot of time and money and involvement into this community, along with many other great people. I'd like to continue to be able to know that even when I'm not here, the investment that I've started will still be thriving and growing."