Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Having just returned from a very moving few days in St. Louis watching my daughter and her fiancé graduate from law school, I was immediately thrust back into things in our Jewish community, in the most wonderful way.
I attended a performance of Arizona Theatre Company’s The Diary of Anne Frank. It was well-done and moving… how could anyone not be moved by this real-life story of a 13-year-old girl and her family hiding from the Nazis at the very end of the war? All of this documented in her own words in the now-famous diary she kept during those awful days. What made this telling unique was the opportunity to sit with the actors after the show and the students who had seen the performance. We discussed sad current events that were on their minds such as the death of over 600,000 Syrians in that country’s civil war and the increase of lone-gunman school shootings. In the words of Pete Seeger, “Oh, when will they ever learn?”
This week’s Torah portion is Naso (Headcount) in the book of Numbers. Aaron, as High Priest and his descendants, are instructed on how to bless the people of Israel. Let this blessing, and the experiences of our people, be a beacon of light for all. May we learn from the atrocities of the Holocaust and stories like those of Anne Frank, Gerda Weissmann Klein, Elie Wiesel and so many others to be kinder to each other, to speak out against intolerance and to be upstanders instead of bystanders. In this way, our 3,500-year Jewish journey will serve as a blessing for all humankind.
Chief Executive Officer