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Marty’s Shabbat Message – January 23, 2020

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),

“The people we hire make minimum wage and agree to be mentors for three years. The average age of our mentors is 34/35 years old. Why do they do it? Because it is their life’s mission…It is their destiny.” This is a quote from the professional representative who was visiting with us this week from Israel , working for The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Youth Futures program. It immediately resonated with me. When I decided to become a Teen director at the Riverdale YM-YWHA upon my graduation from college in 1986, I was told the following: “your friends will become doctors, lawyers and accountants. Many of them will become wealthy. You will not. But you have a gift and these kids need you. You will never be the wealthiest person in the room but you will often be the richest.” Those words ring as true for me today as they did back then. And then to hear from Mayan (which translates to well-spring), who struggled in school due to bullying and other socially challenging issues, but who graduated from this program and who at 24 years old today has accomplished and overcome so much, I was deeply inspired and moved. He was a commander in the military, is physically fit, although he suffered from obesity in his youth and served as a shaliach in the Cleveland Jewish community for a year.

Earlier in the week, I attended the Jewish Family & Children’s Service Brighter Tomorrow Luncheon with our own Vicki Cabot (past Federation Board Chair) & Howard Cabot (current Federation Board Chair) serving as luncheon chairs. We heard the powerful story of Dr. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, who shared how his mom had passed away at a very young age and how he, as the eldest child of five, had to keep it together while so many of his siblings suffered, some permanently, from that horrific loss. He shared how the family needed and received the type of help that JFCS provides to Jewish and non-Jewish families in the Valley each and every day.

This week’s Torah portion is Va’eira (reveals), my bar mitzvah portion, in the book of Exodus, so obviously, this particular portion holds a very special place in my heart. If we look closely at just about any family, or anyone of us for that matter, what is “revealed” is that as human beings, we all struggle at different points in our lives. Isn’t it wonderful to know that our Jewish community, has supported these two vital organizations, for the past 90 and 80 years respectively, The Jewish Agency for Israel, via the Youth Futures program and Jewish Family & Children’s Service here in the Valley. I am so proud that the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, through our annual campaign, provides funding for both of these amazing organizations due to the generosity of so many of you in our Jewish community.

It is our life’s mission. It is our destiny.
Wishing all of you a Shabbat Shalom.

Light candles on Friday at 5:33pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 6:31pm.


Marty Haberer
President & Chief Executive Officer

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