Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
I just returned from a very remarkable four days at the Israeli American Council’s 5th annual conference in Hollywood, Florida. More than 3,200 participants heard from a star-studded guest list, including Vice President Mike Pence, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, as well as representatives from Democratic and Republican parties. It was heartwarming to hear unequivocal support for Israel from both sides of the aisle. Upon my return home, I learned that Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Northern Shield to destroy Hezbollah terrorist tunnels in Northern Israel territory, just outside of Lebanon.
This latest threat reminds me of Israel’s amazing ability to defend itself from what seems to be a constant threat to its citizens and to its very existence. As a Jew who has dedicated my 32-year professional career to our Jewish communities at home, abroad and in Israel, I am proud that our Jewish Federation, through the generosity of our donors, stands ready to provide necessary resources in times such as these. Whether in the form of medicine, counseling, food and safe havens for the children to be such as camps in safer locations as alternatives for when school must be closed and sadly, even access to bomb shelters – it is the power of all of us as a collective, as a united Federation, that makes it possible to respond quickly. So I say Thank You.
This week’s Torah portion is Miketz (At the End) in Genesis. Joseph’s imprisonment ends when Pharaoh dreams of seven fat cows being swallowed by seven lean cows and seven fat ears of grain being swallowed by seven lean ears of grain. Joseph interprets that a famine is coming to Egypt and encourages Pharaoh to prepare and store grain.
And, here we are thousands of years later, with an organization like the IAC, bringing together a half-million Israeli-Americans with American Jews who are deeply connected to Israel to garner support from the American government and people by creating programs that connect us. We see the Israeli government taking action to meet the needs of its citizens and to keep them safe and secure.
I am proud to be a Jewish-American. I am proud to call my Israeli-American brothers and sisters mishpacha (family). And I am proud of Midinat Yisroel (the Nation of Israel) for being the example of democracy in the Middle East and for being a beacon of light for all Jewish people all over the world.
I wish you and your families a happy and healthy Chanukah and a Shabbat Shalom.
Chief Executive Officer
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