Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
While most of you have gone about your business during a typically balmy August week in the Valley, our Jewish community has played host to over 400 very special guests. The week began with more than 200 professionals flying here to participate in the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) ILEAD staff development program. Wednesday evening, another 255 guests joined us; approximately 205 members of JFNA Young Leadership Cabinet and an additional 50 instructors and guests. I am so proud to share that our Greater Phoenix Federation has seven members on the JFNA Young Leadership Cabinet.
These remarkable young people have all made a minimum six-year commitment to contribute $5,000 per year to their local Federation’s annual campaign and to attend an annual summer retreat, such as this one. They also committed to travel annually to Israel and Jewish communities overseas to fully immerse themselves in the work Federation does to strengthen Jewish life and identity and to help Jews in need.
I had the privilege of addressing many of these young Jewish professionals and cabinet members. Though they certainly are not children, I was reminded of this week’s Torah portion Parshat Eikev (Because) in the book of Deuteronomy where the Israelites are encouraged to “… teach them, your children.” I’d amend that to say “Let them also teach us.” Why is this important? By engaging our young people and by learning from them, as they have learned from the generations who have gone before, we ensure that Jewish life and identity endure.