Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
I am writing this Shabbat message at the end of a very busy day of in-person meetings. And I honestly couldn’t be any happier. I met with a local Rabbi and then with a wonderful friend and successful young philanthropist who volunteered a nice increased gift to the Federation campaign and is also seriously considering becoming our 17th prospective member of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. And most of all… he is such a mensch. I love what I do and I’m honored to get to do it.
On a personal note, I received an email from a yeshiva elementary school classmate of mine about a possible family connection. Turns out we may actually be cousins with family members that go back to Offenburg Germany. During the investigation of these names I managed to go back two additional generations on my family tree from my father’s side. I can now trace back seven generations of Haberers going back to 1757. I simply can’t express the joy that discovering this information has given me.
*Pictured Above: My uncle Martin Haberer, age 11. And my father, Otto Haberer, age 6.
And in the worldwide Jewish community, I am relieved and thrilled to share that Birthright Israel will resume providing the gift of a once-in-a-lifetime educational journey to Israel for eligible participants from the United States. Summer trips are expected to begin with a few groups in May and June followed by more than 400 groups in July, August and October. I will be in touch over the coming weeks with an invitation to join a call with Gidi Mark, International CEO of Birthright Israel and Elizabeth Sokolsky, Executive Director of Birthright Israel North America so that you can receive up-to-date information as well as obtain answers to all your questions.
This week’s Torah portion is Emor (speak) in the Book of Leviticus, the third book in the five books of Moses. One of the things that this portion discusses is the lighting of the menorah in the Temple in Jerusalem.
When I think of the lighting of the menorah, I think of the light that it emanates. This week I have experienced a great deal of brightness. The brightness that comes with physically meeting my “mishpacha” (family) of Jews from this, MY community. The light that was shed on my now growing family tree. And the light of knowing that Jewish young people will begin once again to make those very special pilgrimages that Birthright Israel makes possible.
Light candles Friday evening at 6:53pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 7:51pm
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Lag Ba’Omer Samech!
President & Chief Executive Officer
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