Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
I am writing this week’s Shabbat message as I begin my travels on an interfaith mission to Israel with 15 other participants. I am excited to embark on this trip and to bond with this important group of community business leaders.
After 41 missions to Israel, I know in my kishkees (guts) that new friendships will come from this experience and that several participants will engage with our Jewish Federation, but more importantly with our Jewish community. Who knows what wonderful new ideas, initiatives and connections will emerge?
Equally exciting news is that our NowGen’s Giving Circle is accepting applications for grant funding. The Circle consists of philanthropists in their 20s and 30s who direct funds to programs or events that build Jewish community, help Jews in need, engage the next generation and enrich senior lives. Organizations and programs are invited to apply for funding by May 9 at jewishphoenix.org/nowgengivingcircle.
Though I will be traveling home from Israel on Yom Ha’atzmaut, I invite you to attend the Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebrate Israel Festival on Sunday, May 19, 4:30-9pm at the beautiful Moon Valley Country Club. There will be something for everyone and tickets are just $5 per person at celebrateisraelfestival.org.
This week’s Torah portion is Acharei Mot (After the Death) in Leviticus. In it, G-d warns against unauthorized entry into the temple’s innermost chamber, the Holy of Holies, and Shichina (G-d’s presence). Only the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) may enter and only once a year on Yom Kippur.
It is awe-inspiring to know that our group will be at the now-legendary wall beneath the temple in Jerusalem where people have come for so many centuries with prayers and requests. I am reminded that it is our values such as Tzedakah that our young people are keeping alive, and our traditions, such as Yom Ha’atzmaut that celebrates the land promised Abraham, that continue to sustain us as a people over the millennia.
I wish you a good Shabbos.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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