June 4, 2024

Over the last several months, as the hatred towards Israel has continued to be exhibited through the ongoing protests, local cities adopting resolutions, and then, of course, the challenges that universities have faced with the growing pro-Palestinian protests, tent encampments, etc., many in our community have expressed how much they appreciate that our Jewish Federation has continued to ensure that there's a strong and vibrant, Jewish voice representing our community. 

So many of us, including myself, have been feeling the pain, sadness, frustration, and anger (add in any other emotion you have felt) as we watch this play out in front of us, both in-person and especially online as friends (and even family) repost and share images and comments. I'm not sure about you, but it has definitely taken its toll on me as I try to educate people about the situation. It has been taxing and exhausting. Yet, I am profoundly grateful to be able to do what I do during this challenging time. And I remain optimistic and hopeful, especially in light of the latest effort by President Biden for his latest effort to bring an end to the hostilities and return the hostages to their loved ones.

I share this as another one of our cities (South Pasadena) is considering adopting their own resolution during tomorrow night's city council meeting. In every city in our community that has undertaken this "venture," not one city council member has expressed vindictiveness of any kind towards the Jewish community or even towards Israel. In every case, the cities have tried to present a resolution that they feel is "even-handed" and have expressed that it has come from a place of despair for the number of innocent people who have died since October 7. However, in almost every case, what council members who have supported this effort have failed to grasp is the direct impact it has on our Jewish community. Even though in each case, I (and others) have tried to clearly articulate and convey how, by giving voice to those who want to see Israel's ultimate destruction, they are causing far more significant harm locally than their actions could have in ending the hostilities 7500 miles away.

Yesterday, as I was speaking with the Israeli Consulate's Public Affairs Director, updating her on what has been going on in our community (and encouraging her to attend our 30th Anniversary Celebration), I had an epiphany.

Even though I am tired of city officials not being willing to consider the information my colleagues at other Jewish organizations and I share, let alone college administrators, none of us will stop. We will continue to convey our message and illustrate to them the concerns of our local Jewish community, hoping that we can begin to make them understand.

I believe this is what our community has appreciated the most about the work our Jewish Federation has been doing these last several months. They know that some leaders and organizations are doing their best to try and ensure that a robust Jewish voice is being heard by those who need to hear it the most. While our numbers may be smaller than others (heck…. Jews make up just 2.4% of the US population), our experiences and feelings need to be factored in as well.  


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