March 26, 2024

I used to love going to arcades with my quarters in hand and was always on the hunt for where the pinball machines were because I LOVE pinball! I would always be amazed at those people who were good at the whack-a-mole game because they could do it much better than me, so I continued sticking my quarter on top of the pinball machine, waiting for my turn. I bring this up in this week’s column because right now, it feels like the Jewish community is playing whack-a-mole with these ongoing efforts at city councils all across the state in demanding that they adopt ceasefire resolutions.


I don’t want to keep bringing up this issue, but as you might expect, it has gotten a LOT of my attention lately as I ensure a strong Jewish voice is present in this conversation on behalf of our local Jewish community. These efforts undertaken by “the other side” are non-binding declarations and are symbolic in nature. And yet, the momentum I am seeing them build, as city after city appears to be falling to this effort, is staggering. Alhambra unanimously voted last night to adopt theirs, and I met with the City of Burbank’s city staff to discuss where their city council is.


Each elected official or city staff member I have spoken with thus far wants to do what they feel is right – for themselves and their citizens, while not alienating anyone. They earnestly seek information and experiences that can help them form their opinions and decisions. In many cases, I’m not the only one they’re speaking with, as they’re doing their due diligence to understand the nuance better, the fact that words matter, that words have hidden meanings, or are received in specific ways. After each call, email, or meeting, each one has expressed their appreciation for the information and perspective I am sharing. This morning, I met with the mayor of West Covina because he wanted to have a conversation with me so he could better understand where the Jewish community and I are on this issue. He did so even though the West Covina City Council has expressed no interest in moving forward with their own resolution.


The one good thing that has come through this effort is the outreach and relationships formed with many, many city elected officials and staff. These interactions have ensured that 1) they know there is a strong Jewish voice in the community that represents local Jews, and 2) I am planting the seed with them for when we need their support when issues arise for our local Jewish community. I believe that these ongoing conversations I am having will help us in the long run.


Like many of you, I wake up each day hoping that a permanent ceasefire has been agreed upon. I look forward to the day I can strengthen the relationships I have been building on behalf of our local Jewish community on something different. Until then, I will continue to play whack-a-mole and look for additional ways that I can educate our local elected officials and build even more relationships that we can benefit from in the future.


Add Comment