Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
On July 4, 1939, Yankee legend Lou Gehrig gave his retirement speech to 60,000 fans. When he spoke of his career, he declared, “…I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this Earth.”
Though I am a lifelong Red Sox fan from New York—long story for another time—I was incredibly moved by Gary Cooper’s portrayal of Gehrig’s humility in Pride of The Yankees. It left an indelible impression on me.
This week it dawned on me that I may very well be “the luckiest man on the face of this Earth.” It came to me after spending over two hours with a wonderful, longtime donor in his later years. As I left to meet with him, I was somewhat apprehensive, wondering if I would be able to secure a gift and knowing it could be a long meeting. However, I soon found myself enthralled with this amazing man’s story… the family he raised and the life he led. It is one of dignity, generosity and kindness.
As I left the meeting—and yes, a gift was made—I realized, that to me, so little of the meeting was about his gift to Federation. It was more about the man and the gift that he gave to me in sharing himself during those hours.
This week’s Torah portion is Naso, (the Sum) in Numbers. In it, a census of the Israelites was completed as they wandered in the Sinai desert.
When I consider the sum of the people who I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with over the past 31 years working for Federations around the country, and the lives they have shared with me—Jewish lives, lives well lived—I realize that indeed, I am the luckiest man on the face of this Earth.
Shabbat Shalom, my friends.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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