Just six days into his new job as CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Rabbi Noah Farkas had found some time to make his office his own: Along with 30 still-packed boxes of books, the Plano, Texas, native made room for a Dallas Cowboys mini-helmet, a baseball he caught at a Dodgers game and a rock decorated by one of his kids to read “Abba rocks 2015.”
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The events this past weekend at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas are a sobering reminder that antisemitism continues to plague Jewish communities here in Los Angeles and around the world. I am so incredibly grateful for the vital work of law enforcement officials, first responders, and community organizations who ensured that Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the other hostages were able to return home safely.
Today I join the more than 130 employees who dedicate themselves to support a kind, protected, and flourishing Jewish community here in Los Angeles and Israel. Since I came on board two months ago, I’ve had nearly 90 individual conversations with staff, leaders, and stakeholders and attended more than 20 events. I’d like to share with you some of what I have learned.
We stood strong and answered the call and now we are asking you to do the same.
We are proud to share this week’s Jewish Journal cover story that details the incredible journey of our President & CEO Jay Sanderson and the impact that our Jewish Federation has had on our entire Jewish community under his leadership.
This coming Sunday night, I will stand before almost 500 community lay and professional leaders, my family, and dear friends. They are coming from across this city, across the country, and Israel. This is an event to celebrate my leadership over the past 12 years. It will be a humbling experience.
On the heels of the High Holidays and Sukkot, and as we approach another Shabbat, I feel proud and grateful. When our community faced yet another antisemitic threat — this time in our schools — our Federation mobilized our partners and concerned local parents.
Since I returned from my short but impactful leadership and solidarity trip to Israel, I have heard the fears and concerns of many community members (from across Greater Los Angeles and of all ages and denominations with varying political points of view). The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has been the bedrock of Jewish L.A. for over a hundred years, and we remain committed to being that bedrock for the next hundred years.
We are fast approaching an anniversary we all have to acknowledge but we aren't anxious to celebrate. We are reaching the one-year anniversary of this historic pandemic.
Thank you for your strong support in 2020 for the health, welfare, security and sustainability of our beloved Jewish community. Together, we were able to make a powerful impact during this historic pandemic.