Many years ago, I was on the subway in Manhattan. An elderly man got off the train and left behind a worn copy of Professions of a Lucky Jew. I was struck by the title and flipped through the book. The author, Benno Weiser Varon, wrote, “I never understood Jews who abandon Jewry. They simply walk out of an unending drama in which they are assured of good parts.”
I think of that line often as we do our work here at the Federation. Together, we are writing the next chapters of the drama informed by “the good parts.” For me, they are the values that inform our work and inspire us to care for our most vulnerable — from those struggling financially to those living with physical, psychological, or learning challenges. The “good parts” are our deep commitment to engaging every Jew, young and aging, and connecting them to our rich and diverse Jewish community.
I would rewrite Varon’s line to say, “I never understood Jews who abandon supporting the Federation. They simply walk out of an unending drama in which they are assured of good parts.” And here are just a few:
Thousands of children are safer in Jewish day schools, thanks to our Community Security Initiative. Hundreds of families are able to send their children to a Jewish school or summer camp. Thousands of parents receive Jewish-themed books every month to read to their children through PJ Library. Hundreds of young people are visiting Israel for the first time on Birthright Israel LA Way and other programs. Through our partnership with Unistream, hundreds of disadvantaged young people from Israel’s poorest neighborhoods are becoming successful entrepreneurs, ultimately affecting thousands of people across Israel and beyond.
We are truly impacting Jewish life abroad and throughout all of Greater Los Angeles — from Thousand Oaks to Pasadena to Silverlake to Redondo Beach.
I could go on, but you get the idea. The world is complicated and getting even more so each day. Please be assured that our Federation has and always will demonstrate the power of community, touching every Jewish life in Los Angeles, Israel, and around the world.
We cannot do our essential work — especially “the good parts” — without you.
Thank you for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
President & CEO