I have some of my best — and sometimes most challenging — conversations in the grocery store. Last week, a generous supporter of our Federation approached me as I was marveling at the ice creams made from everything but actual milk. She thoughtfully thanked me for my commitment to our Jewish community and asked, “What’s the hardest part of your job?”
From the CEO
Our hearts are heavy after another shooting at a synagogue this past weekend. We stand together with the Jewish community of San Diego and the Chabad of Poway. We mourn the loss of Lori Gilbert-Kaye who was fatally shot trying to save the life of her beloved Rabbi, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, during morning prayers. May her memory be a blessing. We pray for the speedy recovery of those wounded both physically and emotionally.
This year, Passover takes on a deeper meaning, which I’m sure will be reflected in the conversations we have around our Seder tables. I’ve often written and spoken about our Federation’s tremendous commitment to building a dynamic, engaging, and open Jewish community for today and for the future. I hope you share my pride in that important work, which is making a profound impact. Today I’m writing to acknowledge the deep concerns we all have about the rise of national and global anti-Semitic acts and hate speech.
I just returned from two very emotional trips. I travelled through India with 200 Jewish philanthropists from 27 communities and experienced the drama of a…
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As we get ready for Shabbat, I am preparing to join nine leaders of our community and 190 Jewish leaders from across North America on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to India. You are probably asking, “Why India? And why travel with so many people?” Throughout our history, Jews have lived almost everywhere in the world — from Kiev to Buenos Aires, Paris, Havana, and beyond. As such, wherever I am traveling, I’m always learning about our story and seeing firsthand the challenges that Jews (even in the smallest and most remote areas) face.
The horrific shooting in Pittsburgh and the devastating Woolsey Fires shook us as a community. During these tumultuous and traumatic times, one thing has remained consistent — our Federation’s steadfast commitment to our community, near and far. Our Federation is, and has been, the foundation of our Jewish community for well over 100 years. We have developed and built the infrastructure to respond to anything that comes our way. When crisis hit, we mobilized all of our resources and relationships to make the biggest and most immediate impact.
Three weeks ago, I bumped into two flight attendants at Los Angeles International Airport. They said I looked familiar for some reason and later admitted they thought I was a celebrity at first! Don’t laugh! We quickly realized the real reason I looked familiar was because I had been on three recent flights to New York with them. As the President and CEO of our Federation, I travel quite a bit in order to collaborate with great leaders and professionals across the country and the world to share experiences, discuss strategy, and tackle some of our most pressing shared challenges.
As we begin this new year, I want to share an update on how our Federation responded to the local wildfires that dramatically destroyed and damaged many of our beloved institutions and organizations and impacted individuals and families. We have immense gratitude for the community’s continued support, which has enabled us to respond to crises each and every day. Our flexibility was evidenced, especially over the past few months, by our ability to devote our time and resources to deal with challenges and help those in need. Our Federation continues our steadfast commitment to the safety, care, well-being, and future of our community.
This has been a year of heartbreaking challenges and inspiring successes. As it comes to a close, I want to remind you of the lives we have impacted. And I want to say thank you, because we have done this together. Here are just a few examples of people whose lives you have touched:
As we celebrate the miracle of light with friends and family this week, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the recent events that have impacted our community, far and wide.