As you might expect, my job comes with many challenges. There are the day-to-day challenges that come with running an organization, ensuring that the work we do not only creates opportunities for people to feel connected to our local Jewish community but also continues to meet the needs of our community members. Our Board of Governors and I are currently having strategic conversations and meetings to discuss our organization's future plans as we continue to grow and evolve.
One of the areas we have been focusing on as of late has been the voice of our local Jewish community. In this vain, we have been working to combat antisemitism locally. When I speak with City Councils before they vote on our proposed resolution to denounce antisemitism and all forms of hate, I make sure they know that I am there representing our local Jewish community.
I take this "power" extremely seriously and try to be as prudent as I can be as the voice for our local Jewish community. In fact, I only use it when I feel I can give an accurate accounting of what our community thinks, feels, and believes… collectively. I share this in light of yesterday's vote in Israel on the reasonableness bill that the Knesset approved.
A couple of months ago, when I was meeting with Dr. Hillel Newman, Consul General of Israel, I asked him if there were instances when his personal views differed from those he was expected to share as the local representative of the Israeli government. He said there had been a couple of times, but in those moments, he remembered that he was a diplomat and needed to keep his personal opinions to himself.
I share this story to illustrate that I often find myself in a similar place as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. You may have noticed that there are times when people expect or want our Jewish Federation (or myself) to make a statement on an issue like what is taking place in Israel. However, when we cannot represent our entire community or are unsure of our ability to address the situation at hand adequately, we don't. You might remember, back in 2015, when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, was signed, while other organizations came out strongly for (or against), our Jewish Federation issued a statement saying that we would not be making a statement since there were people on both sides of the issue in our community.
However, in those moments, we provide information and resources and share perspectives to help community members develop their own understanding and belief. This way, we can be a resource for our community with information that comes across my desk (and inbox) from thought leaders and leading organizations.
This is something we will continue to do… I can assure you.
On an entirely different note, I want to share some exciting news with the community.
This past Sunday, July 23, the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys began our 30th year as an organization. Through the support of community members like you, we have touched the lives of hundreds, even thousands, within our local Jewish community.
Over the next year, we will celebrate all we have accomplished… together. We have compiled exciting opportunities and experiences that will be highlighted in our next Federation FOCUS and a cover article in August's JLife SGPV, including a special 30th Anniversary Celebration Brunch on June 23, 2024.
We cannot wait to begin celebrating with everyone and look forward to sharing the details in the days, weeks, and months ahead.