Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Is it really the first Shabbat of July already?! The summer is breezing by.
I can only speak for myself of course, but as I get older, I’m amazed at how little I knew growing up about Independence Day. Other than traveling to state parks, eating barbeque or cooling off in the pool, I took an absurdly small amount of time to consider the importance of the holiday, so get ready for a brief history lesson:
The English colonies and England had already been in conflict for over a year when the Continental Congress convened in 1776 in Philadelphia. During the June 7 session, in what would become Independence Hall, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with these famous words:
Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
The rest, as we say… is history!
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to meet with one of the founders of Envoy America, our Federation Senior Rides partner. Together, we are able to provide very low-cost rides to qualified Jewish seniors in the Valley who are no longer able to drive and would not otherwise have access to affordable transportation. Envoy is amazing. Not only do they help seniors maintain their independence and dignity, they carefully select and train each driver to be truly helpful and courteous. Drivers help seniors with their shopping, escort them inside their destinations, and get to know their clients. Some have memory issues. Some use wheel chairs. Some have service dogs. Seniors can develop special relationships with their drivers and request specific ones. This company truly cares about the dignity of those they serve.
The co-founder was effusive in his praise of our Federation, one of only two organizations (the other was the American Cancer Society), that provided funding. A few visionary and generous early donors also helped make it possible for Envoy’s service to succeed and to grow. They are now in 15 states and looking to expand significantly. He wanted to give back to our Federation—and he did. He also encouraged us to spread the word of the wonderful way senior lives are being enriched and improved through our Federation Senior Rides program.
This week’s Torah portion is Korach (the son of Izhar) in Numbers. Korach incites a mutiny challenging Moses’ leadership and Aaron’s position as high priest. Aaron, with G-d’s divine intervention, is able to prove himself as the one true High Priest and the mutiny is put down.
I think it is fitting, as we honor and celebrate our great nation on Independence Day that we also pay tribute to a program and organization that brings a measure of independence to our Valley’s Jewish senior population who need and deserve our assistance and compassion.
Like Moses and Aaron, may we continue to fight for what’s right to ensure a vibrant Jewish community now and into the future. May we continue to go from strength to strength.
Wishing you all a safe and happy 4th of July and Shabbat Shalom!
President & Chief Executive Officer
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