Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Happy Pesach everyone. I hope the “bread of affliction” has been kind to your body this holiday season.
I am beginning my countdown to Israel mission 42 for me. How incredibly blessed am I to be returning to the land Moses led our people to, but was never able to enter himself. I never tire of it; each time I am as excited as my first trip.
This time I am traveling on an interfaith mission of 15 community members. We will be in Israel for Yom Hazikaron, when the sirens sound and everyone stops to honor those lost. I’ve witnessed this before when our car, and all cars, stopped on the side of the highway for a moment of silence. It was quite moving.
In the Valley, we observe Yom Hashoah, as well as Yom Hazikaron, with community events that provide opportunities to learn and reflect. Here are a few of them:
- May 2, 8am-2pm – Reading of the Names at the Valley of the Sun JCC. Please enter with respect.
- May 2, times vary – East Valley Yom Hashoah Commemoration at the East Valley JCC. The day includes a variety of events starting at 11am and concluding with a survivor candle lighting ceremony at 6pm. More information here.
- May 2, 7-8:30pm – 80 Years Later: What Does "Never Again" Mean? moderated discussion at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus. Register here.
- May 5, 3-4:30pm – Communitywide Yom Hashoah Commemoration at Congregation Or Tzion. This event features candle lighting by survivors. More information here.
As the number of survivors decrease, it is increasingly vital to educate the community about the lessons of the Holocaust. Seeing the survivor processional on Yom Hashoah makes a strong impression. I am hoping for larger than usual crowds this year following the success of Violins of Hope. Your participation is appreciated.
This week’s Torah portion is from Deuteronomy. We learn that the body and the soul are opposites. The soul wants nothing to do with the body. It wants to break free from the body and return to its infinite source, our creator. The body, however, is grounded in this world and wants to experience all the pleasures that life offers.
It is our combination of body and soul that make us so unique and allows us to fulfill our life’s purpose in something greater than ourselves.
On April 30, my body will get on a plane to join 15 other bodies from our community to experience the worldly delights that Israel has to offer. We will also spend time at the Western Wall, a place for my soul to contemplate and reflect like very few others.
I cannot wait to join my fellow mission participants to share this incredible Israel adventure together. For those of you that have not yet been to Israel, I pose this question: what are you waiting for?
President & Chief Executive Officer
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