Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
It’s been another eventful week. I am writing this message to you on the sixth night of Chanukah, a day when the Dow Jones just hit another all-time high at 30,199.31.
This week the first vaccinations have begun in the U.K. and then in the United States. Yesterday, the Electoral College made the election results official. Senators Pelosi and McConnell and other leaders are meeting on spending and stimulus topics. Yesterday, a picture popped up on my Facebook account showing Lori and I spending a long weekend in California with dear friends, at this time last year. That really does seem so very long ago!
And, while all this is going on, the work of our Federation system continues. This week, we welcomed 314 of the 2000 Ethiopian Jews expected to arrive home to Israel before the end of the year. You can watch the video of their arrival here. We will follow this group closely as they exit quarantine, are reunited with their families, and begin to adapt to their new lives. Stay tuned. Read one story here. Please spread the word and pass this on.
Back here in the Valley, I am pleased to share that Hillel International, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, yesterday honored outstanding Hillel professionals and campus Hillels that are creating innovative Jewish experiences and meaningful connections throughout the pandemic. Among those Hillel professionals recognized was Debbie Yunker Kail, Executive Director at Arizona State University Hillel. “Debbie exemplifies the way in which Hillels throughout the world continue to inspire and support students, notwithstanding the profound challenges and disruptions of this past year,” said Hillel International President and CEO Adam Lehman. “We’re always proud of the work of our talented professionals, but especially now given how they’ve reimagined Hillel experiences to meet the unique needs of students during this period.” A well-deserved recognition, Debbie.
This week’s Torah portion is Mikeitz (At the End) in the Book of Genesis, the first in the Five Books of Moses. It is in this Torah portion where Joseph faces his brothers and most of the family dynamics are playing out. The portion ends with Joseph falsely arresting Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest and dearest son, as a test to see how the other brothers respond. They are not yet aware who he is, though he is the Governor in Egypt.
Mikeitz literally means “the end,” and we are coming to the end of a most challenging year. Some would even say unprecedented. But humanity seems to be rising to the occasion with the development of the vaccines combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. And, this was done in record time, exhibiting great drive as well as ingenuity and our advances in medicine. Similarly, the light of Chanukah can be seen in the work being done to reunite Jewish Ethiopian families with their relatives in Israel. It also shines a light on our best and our brightest, such as our own Debbie Yunker Kail.
Light candles Friday evening at 5:05pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 6:04pm
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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