November 7, 2023

Last night, I talked with a friend I had not spoken with in a while. After catching up about the family and what everyone has been up to. Inevitably, he asked me how I was doing, which, as many people are currently feeling, is a loaded question, especially following October 7. I shared some of the work and outreach our Jewish Federation has been doing lately, and then he asked an important question. “So, besides Israel, what is going on in our community?”

You see, even with our hearts and minds focused on what has been happening in Israel over the last five weeks, Jewish life continues here in the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. Our 25th Annual Jewish Book Festival is in full swing, including tonight’s sold-out event with NY Times bestselling cookbook author Adeena Sussman and many others. I hope you have had a chance to attend a past event or are planning to join us for one before the festival concludes on Saturday, December 2.

Then, two weeks later, on Saturday, December 16, as part of our 30th Anniversary Celebration, we are holding Stars of David, a special concert at Temple Beth Israel of Pomona that sets to song stories of what Judaism has meant to several famous Jews, including Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Joan Rivers, Larry King, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Leonard Nimoy to name a few. We hope you will join us.

Each year, usually on the first Sunday of January, we hold our Annual Meeting. This is a chance for us to update the community on the work our Jewish Federation has been doing to benefit and enhance Jewish life in the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys and share what is planned for the year ahead.

I am excited to announce that during this year’s meeting, taking place on Sunday, January 7, we will be honoring Nancy Carlton as our Jewish Federation’s 2023 Volunteer of the Year for the many years of volunteering and support she has provided to our Jewish Federation and the community. Plus, we have invited Greg Laemmle, President of Laemmle Theaters, to be our keynote speaker. He and I will discuss his family’s history, the future of the film industry, and more. In addition, the Jewish Federation will be installing its Officers and Board of Governors, including its newest board members (Avi Bilu and Lawrence Lurvey), and will be awarding this year’s Kimberly Dawn Ellis Memorial Scholarship, as well as our High School Junior Scholarship.

Tribute opportunities are available to honor our Volunteer of the Year and our newest Board of Governors. Reservations for the Annual Meeting are $30 and include an elegant catered buffet brunch. The RSVP deadline is Thursday, January 4, 2024.

I am happy to share all of this and show that even as our attention remains on the situation in Israel, our community continues to have opportunities to come together. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event.


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