December 26, 2023

One of my favorite aspects of this time of year are the retrospective looks at the year that was – what the memorable highlights were, as well as the events that will leave their indelible mark for years to come.

I have done the same thing for the last several years for our Jewish Federation – looking back at what we have accomplished in the previous year. I always enjoy sharing our organizational highlights with the community to remind everyone of how we positively impacted the community this past year and illustrate how the financial support we receive from the community allows us to do so much each year.


It is in that spirit that I share with you our Jewish Federation's 2023 Highlights:


We kicked off 2023 with our 28th Annual Meeting with Baseball Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch as our keynote speaker, discussing Jews and Baseball with Occidental Professor and Baseball enthusiast Peter Dreier. 


Later that month, we gathered our community for our 5th Annual Every Person Has a Name Holocaust Commemoration and Vigil.


In February, as part of our Comprehensive Community-wide Security Plan, we worked with the FBI to hold an Elder Financial Abuse Training.


To counter and combat the rise of antisemitism we had been witnessing throughout the country, we launched our campaign to combat antisemitism locally in March by reaching out to our local city councils and asking them to adopt resolutions denouncing antisemitism and all forms of hatred. This effort has garnered 29 cities (to date) adopting resolutions or the like standing with us against the rise of antisemitism and all forms of hate.


Our PJ Library program held its 2nd Purim Story Walk and helped families celebrate Purim with their children and community. Parents raved about the experience and expressed how much they appreciated the program.  


Our JFed Players returned to the stage in April for The Drowsy Chaperone for a series of sold-out performances, along with their fall production of Leading Ladies in October.


In May, we brought the community together for a Town Hall meeting with the Consul General of Israel, Dr. Hillel Newman, to allow people to hear from and ask questions of the highest-ranking local Israeli official.


As summer unfolded, Camp Gan Shalom held another successful summer and experienced our highest camper enrollment in over 12 years. 


And on July 23, we kicked off a year-long celebration of our 30th Anniversary, serving our community with our mission to build community by strengthening and enhancing Jewish life.


Then, in September, LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger named me a commissioner to the LA County Human Relations Commission.


On October 8, due to horrific and tragic events in Israel, we brought our community together for a solidarity rally and service, together with PJTC, that well over 300 people attended. And to help keep all of us as informed as possible, we began sending out our periodic Israel updates.


Later that month, our 25th Annual Jewish Book Festival began and included many incredible events, with one being our second One Book, One Community event.


What a year it has been – filled with many highs and a very big low. But through it all, our Jewish Federation has worked hard to keep our community connected. Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible.


There is still time to support our work as we move into 2024. Please consider making one final gift before the year ends, and know that you will be helping us kick off 2024 with a bang!


From all of us here at the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, we wish you all a very Happy New Year!


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