Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
This week, I share with you a story about how volunteerism, community and friendships can collide in a beautiful way as friendships and partnerships bloom.
Earlier this week, Esther Schon, Women’s Philanthropy Chair, and her husband, Dr. Don Schon, Major Gifts Chair, were hiking in the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, when Esther slipped on loose gravel and hooked her foot on a rock as she went down. It was instantly clear to Don that she was not going to get back up, much less hike back to their car.
Fortunately, Don knew just who to call. Congregation Lev Shalom in Flagstaff recently underwent significant reorganization and their rabbi and board president reached out to Federation for help. Esther, Don and I have been helping them with organizational structure, leadership and fundraising training, spending time in both communities. The president of the Lev Shalom brotherhood, Bob Braudy, is an incredible mensch (good soul), and is an active volunteer with Coconino County Search and Rescue.
Don called his friend and asked for his help. After sharing their GPS coordinates, in practically no time at all, Don and Esther were surrounded by members of search and rescue, the sheriff’s department, the US Forest Service and paramedics from Flagstaff FD with an ambulance waiting below. They stabilized Esther’s condition, treated her pain and carried her down the mountain. She was immediately taken to the hospital. Bob accompanied the Schons to the ER. Esther had surgery on her badly fractured ankle and the good news is that she will be fine.
This week’s Torah portion is D’varim (The Words), in the final book of the Torah, Deuteronomy. In it, Moses recounts the journey from Sinai through the great and fearsome desert. We work very hard as a group to create our little piece of community and some may wonder why. This is why. Together we are stronger, together we forge partnerships that strengthen our community and enrich the lives of its members. And, sometimes, we even make friendships bloom-from the desert to Flagstaff.
Thank you to all those who create the relationships, which are so meaningful in our community. In doing so, you truly make our community bloom with love.