Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Is it really possible that we are getting through a whole week without a High Holy Day? On the one hand, it is nice to get back to our “normal” routine (as if there is such a thing in the world of Jewish communal service). On the other hand, our memories are still very fresh of shofars blowing, Sukkahs being constructed and now deconstructed, of lulavs and esrogim and of singing and dancing with the Torah. How wonderful is it to be a member of the Jewish people? I couldn’t be prouder.
As the New Year begins, I am happy to share exciting news regarding the growth at the Hillel Jewish Student Center at Arizona State University. The only pluralistic organization for Jewish students on campus, Hillel ASU offers college students leadership development opportunities and professional mentoring, as well as the recent purchase of property to double its footprint at the Tempe campus and expand programming opportunities for Jewish students. Wow!
This week’s Torah portion is Noah, in the book of Genesis. The descendants of Noah remain a single people with a single language and culture for ten generations, but become very haughty and decide to celebrate their invincibility by building a great tower. G-d confuses the builders by making them speak different languages, thereby causing them to abandon the project and disperse across the earth into 70 nations.
This analogy reminds me of what happened here in our own Jewish community around 2008, when the economy collapsed. In addition to many businesses and personal fortunes collapsing, so too did so many of our vital Jewish organizations. Like our forefathers before us, we are resilient and we persevered. From the economic downturn, to the recent natural disasters, we have learned that we are truly stronger when we work together and support each other.
May we continue, in 5778, to build this Jewish community together and become one of the premier Jewish communities in North America. Together, may we go from strength to strength.