Happy, Health and Safe

I am a lifelong sports fan, and this is a favorite time of the year for fans like me. The baseball playoffs are just starting, and college and professional football are in full swing. Plus, the preseason of basketball and hockey is beginning as well. It is an exciting time. For the Jewish community, we are just coming out of the holiday season. Around this time, many people feel a connection and a desire to do more Jewish.


Our Jewish Federation's calendar is also ramping up, just as we are in the midst of celebrating our 30th anniversary. This month alone, our Cultural Arts' JFed Players hit the stage for their fall production of Leading Ladies, a hilarious play about two down-on-their-luck actors who believe they have found their answer when they learn about a very wealthy old lady who is about to die and wants to leave her fortune to her nephews. Bad behavior, high heels, and Shakespeare combine to make this screwball comedy a must-see! Later this month, our 25th Annual Jewish Book Festival will kick off with an incredible series of events, including the return of our One Book, One Community and an evening with NY Times best-selling cookbook author Adeena Sussman. We hope you attend at least one of these upcoming events. 


While these programs and events will be the focus of many of my staff, my attention continues to be focused on safety and security for our community. And like we have seen over the past several months as "swatting" incidents have impacted Jewish organizations across the country, including one at Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center and B'nai Simcha Community Preschool in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah. It was fortuitous that our Jewish Federation was in the final planning stages to join the Southern California Jewish Security Alliance. This alliance brings together the intelligence and weight of the Anti-Defamation League, the expertise of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' Community Security Initiative, and the resources of Community Security Service. This alliance aims to have a fully integrated security network to better protect and respond to any threat targeted at a Southern California Jewish organization.


This alliance will also benefit the work we have been doing locally with our Community Security Committee these last several years. This committee, chaired by Gabi Kovnator, brings together the representatives from each of our community's synagogues responsible for handling security at their respective institutions. By bringing them together, they are able to learn from one another by sharing ideas and ultimately keeping the members of their community safer.


As you may have seen, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger recently named me a commissioner to the LA County Commission on Human Relations. The mission of this commission is to promote better human relations in LA County and help build vibrant, thriving communities by working to transform prejudice into acceptance, inequity into justice, and hostility into peace. In many ways, this appointment will be an extension of the work our Jewish Federation has been doing to combat antisemitism and all forms of hate in the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys for the last several months.


So, our Jewish Federation will be busy over the next couple of months, and we are excited about what is in store for our community.


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