I hope that these first few days of 5783 have gone well for you as we lead into the start of Yom Kippur with Kol Nidre tomorrow night and the conclusion of Yamim Nora’im (Ten Days of Awe). I had a special treat on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah as I had the chance to visit and speak during services at Beth Shalom of Whittier, Temple Ami Shalom, and Temple Sholom of Ontario. I always enjoy attending services throughout our community, and it is extra special for me when I am invited to speak to the different congregations, especially on Rosh Hashanah.
I love being able to update the community about some of the work the Jewish Federation is doing (or has done) and, more specifically, how it has directly impacted community members’ lives. It makes people more aware of how we are working to build community by strengthening and enhancing Jewish life (our mission), and I also believe it helps people feel more connected (and less isolated).
In fact, during my remarks, I shared that one of our key findings from last year’s Community-wide Survey was that people wanted to understand better the Jewish Federation and what we do. To that end, the Jewish Federation has developed the following statement that we hope more clearly defines and articulates this:
The Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys is a resource for everything Jewish in the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. We are a safe place for people to find their way into and connect with both their Judaism and the Jewish community. The programs and services we provide celebrate the Jewish community and create opportunities for people to engage with the beauty and richness of Jewish culture. And we are the Jewish voice for our local community, the eyes, and ears that educate and promote Judaism and Jewish life locally.
I hope that by sharing this and the information we have included in our three times-a-year Federation FOCUS newsletter (which you will receive later this month), the entire community will have a much better understanding and awareness of how the Jewish Federation benefits our community. Please know that if you ever want a personal explanation or are interested in discussing this further, I am always available to meet for coffee or over the phone.
And before I end this week’s column, I wanted to share one final thought. During these Ten Days of Awe, it is customary to apologize to those you may have wronged in the past year. To that end, if the Jewish Federation in any way offended, misled, wronged, or failed you during this past year, please know that it was never done intentionally, and I hope you will accept our complete and sincere apology. We will strive to continue to learn from our mistakes and do better during this year ahead of us.
From all of us here at the Jewish Federation, we wish you and your family, G’mar Chatimah Tovah… may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life for a year filled with good health, happiness, joy, and peace.