Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
So, I was mistaken last week when I told you that last week’s Shabbat message was the last one you would receive from me in 2020. As it turns out, you might even be reading this on New Year’s Eve. I wish for each of you that you are doing something far more interesting than that. In my case, I will be glued to the Sci Fi channel with my wife, Lori watching as many Twilight Zone episodes as I possibly can. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us and well… there just isn’t all that much to do on New Year’s Eve this year! There may be a bit of champagne involved as well…
So here we are. The end of a year like we have not seen in most or all of our lifetimes. Time to take a deep breath and let it out as we ease into 2021. And this is the moment I get to thank each of you for the successes you made possible during this most challenging year for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. We could not have gotten here without each of you. With your generous support, we were able to raise almost $200,000 for our COVID-19 Emergency Campaign. Our JFNA (The Jewish Federations of North America) Young Leadership Cabinet participation has risen from two participants five years ago to 14. We received a $100,000 match from JFNA as a result of new or increased gifts in 2020. We have brought to our community a host of virtual engagement opportunities with authors, chefs and interesting personalities in our Jewish world. And, just before our community “shut down” in March, we had a terrific Mega event with over 400 participants hearing from guest speaker, Joshua Malina, who starred in the award-winning television series The West Wing & Scandal. We also completed our new NowGen Leadership & Advancement Series with six mentors and 50 fabulous young leaders. The future is indeed promising!
This week’s Torah portion is Vayechi (Lived) the last chapter in the Book of Genesis. I think it is apropos that we close the first of the Five Books of Moses with the Shabbat that sends us into the new year. Not only does Jacob die in Egypt, but years later so does Joseph. Yet, the portion is called “lived.” So much more important that we live in the moment and create the legacy we each will be remembered for. I hope that each of you accomplishes great things in 2021. I pray that at this time next year, the pandemic will be behind us. And I hope that we will once again be celebrating wonderful accomplishments from our Jewish Federation which will make it possible for us to care for those in need and who may be less fortunate than we are, here, in Israel and wherever there are Jewish people living in this world.
Light candles Friday evening at 5:14pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 6:13pm
Shabbat Shalom and a happy and a healthy New Year to all those you love.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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