Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Somehow, with all the craziness we are coping with in our world, the 4th of July has crept up on us. It’s really kind of hard for me to believe.
Despite all the social distancing, isolation, protests and societal fractures we are experiencing, the days, weeks and months have really flown by. And now this Shabbos is Independence Day.
I know it sounds strange but too many people don’t really know why we celebrate Independence Day. So, for those of us who need a refresher, Independence Day, July 4, 1776 commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. The Continental Congress declared that the 13 American Colonies were no longer subject to the King of Britain, King George III. These colonies were declared united, free and independent states. For me, this Independence Day is particularly poignant as we grapple with issues of racism and inequality.
Celebrating this Independence Day reminds me that as a nation, we are still only 244 years old. In the scheme of things, a very short time indeed. A baby. So, I choose, on this Independence Day, to look at all the amazing accomplishments we have experienced as a country and what a blessing it is to be an American. This past week, in a partnership with the Martin Pear JCC, the Jewish Federation “sold out” 40 spaces for a blood drive on the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus. We are grateful and appreciative that Vitalant brought out two of their buses so that our community members could make this vital donation of blood to their fellow community members and Americans who need it the most. This is really the essence of what makes this country so great. Let’s remember to celebrate the best in ourselves every once in a while.
And thankfully, now that July 4 is here, we can sense the return of professional sports in our lives to bring us some entertainment and levity during this most serious and disturbing period of time we are living through.
With that in mind, we offer you, our donors and community members a special treat and opportunity. The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey is making a special opportunity available to all Federations.
Calling a Timeout: A Look into Professional Sports After COVID-19
Tuesday, July 7 | 5pm PT
Join in for a discussion about what the typical sports fan can expect as the world begins to open up, all through the lens of those closest to the action. Hear from different voices in the sports world with moderator Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner of Temple Emanu-El in Closter, New Jersey
Kenny Albert, Play-by-Play Broadcaster, NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA
Noah Garden, Executive Vice President, MLB
Lee H. Igel, Clinical Associate Professor, NYU Tisch Institute for Global Sport
Tracy Wolfson, Lead Sideline Reporter, CBS Sports
Daniel Zausner, US Open Tennis Championships, Tournament Management
This week’s Torah portion is a double portion, Chukat (statutes) and Balak (The name of a person). Balak, The King of Moab, summons the prophet Balaam, to curse the people of Israel. Balaam tries three times to curse the Israelites but miraculously blesses them each time instead with one of my favorite versus: “How good are the tents of Jacob, the tabernacles of Israel…” May we, in our miraculous country of America, strive to do better, to get better and continue to be the pride of this world, a shining light for the rest of the world to admire and aspire to.
Light candles on Friday at 7:23pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 8:24pm.
Shabbat Shalom and wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and safe 4th of July.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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