Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
It is hard to believe that the summer is quickly coming to an end and that we actually can begin to sense the High Holy Days approaching. This past week, I found myself among dozens of our Young Jewish community members at a summer NowGen happy hour. Boy, was that a welcome escape for all of us! This was the first happy hour for our new NowGen professional, Kelly Harris. We are excited to welcome her to town and to our community.
While at the event, I met a delightful young man, who mentioned that he had come to Arizona with his family from Baku, Azerbaijan about 20 years ago. He shared that the Jewish community of North America was instrumental in getting his family to the U.S. and getting them on their feet. He almost fell off his bar stool when I told him I had been on a mission to Baku about 20 years ago, right around the time his family had left. My visit may have coincided with his family’s leaving of Baku.
Even after 31 years of serving Jewish communities throughout the country, I continue to be amazed how Federation touches and affects so many lives. We really do. I couldn’t be any prouder, as I looked at this wonderful young man participating in our NowGen event, of the incredible work we make possible at Federation.
This week’s Torah portion is Shoftim (Judges), in the book of Deuteronomy. In it, Moses says that every generation will have those entrusted with interpreting and applying the laws of the Torah. Whether it is dealing with the divisiveness in our society, or simply assuring that our 4,000-year-old story continues, I am reassured with every NowGen meeting that the future will be bright. This next generation will interpret and apply the laws of the Torah so their children, too, will have a love of their heritage and their own Jewish future. Am Yisroel Chai!