Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
You are receiving this while most of you are having your Thanksgiving feasts. Let me begin by wishing all of you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving filled with gratitude, great food, surrounded by family and friends. This Thanksgiving I cannot help but be filled with great joy as I have my family and friends with me in my beautiful house that my wife has expertly made into a home these past five years.
I am also grateful for the growth and transformation of our Jewish Federation. I owe that to a phenomenal professional team and incredibly committed volunteers who continue to inspire me to grow and work harder on behalf of our Jewish community here in the Valley.
Welcome home to our 22 mission participants who just experienced Cuba and the work the JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) makes possible with our Federation partnership. What a difference our group made for the Jewish community in Cuba. The community is small and economically fragile, but strong in its commitment to Jewish life. The recent drop in JDC’s missions to Cuba have hit the Jewish community particularly hard. With fewer missions, less funds are available to support vital Jewish community programs, as well as fewer in-kind goods such as valuable, often life-saving medicines. Our participants brought approximately 100 pounds of medications to supply the pharmacy that operates out of the synagogue, 100s of pounds of clothing, a wheelchair for a woman with a medical condition – it will also be shared among their senior center, and a new laptop and a projector to be used by the Albert Einstein Sunday School.
This week’s Torah portion is Toldot (generations) in the book of Genesis. In it we learn about the birth and lifelong competition between two brothers, Easu and Jacob. As we know, in the end, it is Jacob who prevails and becomes one of the fore fathers of the Jewish people. In next week’s portion, Jacob becomes Yisroel (we’ll get into that more next week), God wrestler. In wrestling with God, it is the acts of loving kindness that transform Jacob into Israel. It is the loving actions and generosity of our mission returnees from Cuba that transform us into the light we want to be and shining it into the darkness.
Light candles on Friday at 5:02pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 6:00pm.
Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving and a Shabbat Shalom.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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