Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
It is good to be writing this message back from behind my desk at my Federation office. January 11th was my 57th birthday and it was also my first day back in the office after testing positive for COVID-19.
So, when I was getting all sorts of birthday love on Facebook the other day and people asked me what I did for the big day, I proudly confirmed that I had returned to work and treated myself to Chinese Food for the first time since Christmas Day… 2019!!
This short absence from my office did remind me how fortunate I feel to be able to do the work of the Jewish Federation. This has been a labor of love that began at the Riverdale YM-YWHA in 1986. One of the birthday wishes I received came from the CEO of the Washington Heights Y, Martin Englisher, who was my counselor when I was 8 years old. He said I had “done well” and that did put a smile on my face and warmed my heart.
So now we are already halfway through the first two weeks of the New Year and time stands still for no one, or so said Geoffrey Chaucer. We have a Presidential Inauguration coming up next week. We received word that the Jewish philanthropist, Sheldon Adelson, passed away at age 87, z”l and we have received word that beloved Temple Chai Rabbi, Mari Chernow, will be leaving our community for a wonderful new opportunity in LA this summer. Mazel Tov to you, Rabbi Mari and to your family.
Here are some upcoming events you may want to check out in the coming days and weeks ahead:
- Jan 24-25: International Lion of Judah Conference – Register here!
- Jan 27, 2pm MT: Vaccines and their Impact on Jewish Life – Register here!
- Feb 1-2: Jewish Federations of North America Virtual Mission to Washington DC – Register here!
- Feb: Jewish Disability Advocacy Month (JDAM), a month-long virtual educational and community-building experience culminating in a week of action and advocacy. Be in touch with Aaron Kaufman for more information. – Register here!
This week’s Torah portion is Va’eira (Reveals), the second portion in the book of Exodus, the second of the Five Books of Moses. This also happens to be my Bar Mitzvah portion. Remarkable how we connect to the portion that seemingly becomes our own our entire lives.
In it, we are introduced to the first seven of the 10 plagues G-d sends upon the Egyptians so that they will ultimately free the Jewish slaves and let them leave Egypt. How ironic that we are experiencing our own plague at this very moment in time. One that I have just been blessed to recover from, as has my wife and my son.
Our plague too shall pass. Rather than wait for it to pass, let us continue to passionately rebuild and build our Jewish infrastructure, so that when we are free to live our lives as we did before this plague, we will be ready with the services and community support that anyone in our community can proudly avail themselves of at any time, for any reason.
Light candles Friday evening at 5:26pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 6:24pm
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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