Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
As of this writing, the cease fire in Israel continues to hold. May it turn into a permanent peace for many years to come.
One of the disturbing revelations that has risen to our awareness a week after the hostilities have quieted in the Middle East is the amount of overt anti-Semitism that is so evident everywhere in the world right now — even here in the United States and in cities with some of the largest Jewish populations such as New York and Los Angeles. My own father and his family escaped Offenburg, Germany in December of 1937 less than a year before Krystal Nacht (Night of broken glass) and the beginning of the Holocaust. He would be quite shocked and upset to learn of where things are today as he comes close to his 23rd yahrzeit. May his nishama (spirit) have an Aliyah (be elevated).
Shockingly, this past week, in response to the two weeks of conflict in the Middle East, variations of the phrase “Hitler was right” were posted more than 17,000 times on Twitter. Pamela Paresky and Alex Goldenberg, who write for the Jewish Journal about anti-Semitism noted “According to the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), extremist hashtags and slogans are upstream predictors of real-world violence and unrest”. Very, very disturbing stuff to be living through yet again.
On the positive side of things, I represented our Federation at Jewish Free Loan’s live virtual event this past Sunday. At the event, Federation was praised in the following manner:
“With an abundance of gratitude, the Jewish Free Loan recognizes the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix for their generous grants to help support interest-free lending for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As conveyed by a quote from a JFL borrower, these funds greatly impacted the welfare of members of Arizona’s Jewish community.”
This week’s Torah portion is Behaaalotecha (raise light) in the Book of Numbers, the fourth in the five books of Moses. In it, Moses realizes he cannot lead alone. It’s just too big a job for any one person. He appoints 70 elders to whom he imparts his spirit to help him with the burden of governing the people. As it pertains to the anti-Semitism that is yet again rearing its ugliness in our time as it has for thousands of years, it will require spirited leadership from many of us in the Jewish world and friends from outside our Jewish world to stand together to extinguish that hate before it once again, G-d forbid, consumes people.
It equally takes spirited leadership to create the wonderful partnership that Federation has with Jewish Free Loan to care for those in need in our community.
Kol Yisrael aravim zeh bazeh. Each and every Jew is responsible for each other. Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Light candles Friday evening at 7:13pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:14pm
President & Chief Executive Officer
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