Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Welcome to 2018. I hope that the first week of 2018 has been kind to all of you, dear friends. One of the first things I had the opportunity to do this year was to schlep out to Pebble Creek Resort in Goodyear, about 40-45 minutes away from the “mother ship” in Scottsdale, where I was privileged to speak to the Jewish people who reside there.
In addition to explaining my role as executive director of the Federation, I was able to share our organizational mission, core values and talk about how Federation strengthens and engages the Jewish community throughout the Valley. I was impressed by the quality of the group and felt an immediate connection that made me feel welcome and at ease. What a blessing it is to be out and about meeting the people who make our community a vibrant one.
When I was in Goodyear this week, the names of the people were very familiar to me, many bearing traditional Jewish names. I told the story of my own Uncle Martin, z”l, who was killed in the Battle of Bastogne in WWII, for whom I was named. We also shared many things in common coming from the same 4,000-year-old story. Some even came from the Bronx and Brooklyn, right next door to where I grew up.
This week’s Torah portion is Shemot, which means names. It is in the second of the five Books of Moses, known as Exodus. In it, we are introduced to perhaps our greatest biblical hero, Moses. It reminds us, that even with a travel distance of 40-45 minutes in our vast Valley, we are all truly only separated by six degrees. Kol Yisrael erevim zeh la zeh, each Jewish person is responsible one for the other. And that, my friends, is what sustains us.
From my family to yours, many blessings in 2018!