Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
As I write this message to you, I am realizing I am completing my fourth year as the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix’ President and CEO. I have not missed a Shabbat message to you during those four years. I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Frankly, writing them keeps me personally in rhythm with where the Torah is all year long. When I was a young Yeshiva student 40 and 50 years ago, my teachers (Rabayim) would sometimes pull me (and in fairness, my other classmates as well) out of class and ask me to name that week’s portion. Most of the time, I can say most assuredly, I did not have the correct answer. So, I take great pride that for the past four years now and counting, I actually do know the answer!
I am truly grateful for the position I am in and for the privilege it continues to be to serve the Jewish community, now into my 35th year. I take none if it for granted and just hope I can continue to do this fulfilling work for as long as I am able. Just today, I was able to participate on a Zoom with Dr. Hillel Newman, Consul General of Israel. He briefed our group regarding the success of the Israeli vaccination program, the upcoming elections later this month in Israel, as well as the continuing concerns about Iranian aggression toward Israel and the free world. Given where we are here in the United States regarding vaccinations, I’d like to highlight Israel’s accomplishments.
Israel Vaccines — Israel recently reached the milestone of having vaccinated 50% of its population against COVID-19 (with a first dose). This week, Israel also began vaccinating Palestinian workers, in addition to having recently provided 5,000 doses to the Palestinian authority. Under the Oslo Accords, Palestinian healthcare falls under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, rather than Israel. For details and background on the vaccination campaign prepared by the Israel Action Network and JFNA’s Israel and Overseas department here. The Consul General indicated Israel is getting closer to isolating an actual “cure” for COVID-19. Not just a vaccine to prevent it. And how proud will we all be if this comes to pass?
This week’s Torah portion is Vayakhel (Assembled), in the Book of Exodus, the second in the five Books of Moses. In it, the Israelites donate the required materials to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle) where G-d will be housed and transported, in abundance. Moses has to tell them to stop donating! This is the essence of Jewish generosity and Jewish responsibility. Isn’t it heartwarming all of these thousands of years later, witnessing the modern-day state of Israel leading the world in its efforts to vaccinate and thereby protect its precious population?
President & Chief Executive Officer
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