Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
This Shabbat Message completes my first year as leader of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. Thank you one and all for your support, your feedback and your love for our Federation and our Jewish community.
There’s another prominent anniversary being celebrated this year on May 14 – the 70th anniversary of the modern State of Israel. Our people waited almost 2,000 years in the diaspora to have the opportunity to call Jerusalem and Israel our home once again, whether we reside there or not.
In recognition of Israel at 70, the Valley of the Sun JCC is creating a community mural. If you’ve been to Israel, I encourage you to share your photos and memories at vosjcc.org/israelmural. The mural will be on display at The J April 8-30. It is a true community mural, so not only am I asking you to participate by sharing your photos and thoughts, but I am also asking for your help in spreading the word. Please share this link and email with your friends and family and let’s get everyone participating in this fun celebration of Israel’s 70th!
Though I received a Yeshiva education, attended Jewish camps and participated in synagogue life, it was my first trip to Israel in my 20s and placing Uncle Martin’s Purple Heart ribbons in the Western Wall that completed my very personal covenant with Judaism. Israel is special to me and I hope, very special to you.
This week’s Torah Portion is Vayakhel-Pekudi in Exodus. In it, the Mishkan (portable dwelling place) is completed and a cloud appears over it, signifying that G-d has come to dwell in it. Similarly, our return “home” to Israel, to Zion, almost 70 years ago, brings us back to our divine beginnings and fulfills G-d’s promise to Abram/Abraham at the very beginning of our Jewish journey, when He commands him to “Go to the land that I will show you.”
Chief Executive Officer