December 8, 2023

Events, Dear Boy, Events

Dov Ben-Shimon Federation CEO

Dear Federation and Community Leaders,

The running joke around here seems to be that I keep promising to cut down on both the frequency and the length of these updates … and then the world and the tasks take over and, well, here we are again. British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was once asked what was the greatest challenge for a statesman. He replied: ‘Events, dear boy, events’. Next week I’ll parse down the emails. Promise.*

Speaking of events: tonight we light the first candle of Chanuka. There are some terrific, inspiring, and meaningful celebrations all over the community. You should come – check out the listing here of what’s happening near you. And you can see my Chanuka message here, too.

I was really inspired recently by Jake Wieseneck, son of Larry and Gayle of West Orange. Jake is a principal of Maniv Mobility, a venture capitalist fund that is partnering with the Israeli health-tech investing firm, TARA Group, our Federation partner the Jewish Agency for Israel, and FedEx, in “Operation Falcon,” an initiative which earlier this month began sending kits to Israel with emergency supplies for the civilian home front, including thousands of first aid kits and hundreds of generators. Jake and his partners at Maniv are overseeing the operation by leveraging their logistics and transportation knowledge and relationships to provide much needed assistance in Israel.

Jake says that “the past two months have reaffirmed our belief that the Jewish people are truly one global family and it’s our duty and moral responsibility to lend a hand however we can toward assuring the safety and security of the people of Israel. As a mobility and logistics focused Venture Capital firm, we have already built operations like Falcon for our portfolio companies and partners, so we didn’t hesitate before doing the same on behalf of the State of Israel, benefiting 120+ communities across the Northern and Southern borders, and hopefully many more to come.” We need more people like Jake, he’s inspiring.

I noted with particular dismay that reported hate crimes have surged since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas. FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers that the bulk of the cases targeted Jews. And speaking of hate, watch this video – or at least the evil, contemptible, blood-libelous bit from 12:51-14:50 where a tenured professor at our state university Rutgers uses our tax dollars to promote reprehensible lies and incitement. Here’s a shameful quote from this evil conference:

Claims of mass murder of babies and their decapitation and of mass rapes of women among others were dispensed to a white supremacist Western world and Western mainstream media ready to believe any Israeli claim about the racially inferior Palestinians. The Western press immediately began disseminating Israel’s claims as incontestable truth before quietly retracting many of them one by one, although President Joe Biden continues shamelessly to propagate these libels as facts. … This anti-Palestinian Western Campaign which includes Germany, France and the UK, to support the Israeli settler colony is as much in full swing now as it has been since 1948 and remains equally committed to defeat the anti-colonial indigenous Palestinians come what may. The Germans declared to the Jewish supremacist leaders of Israel that Berlin is quote “on your side” unquote. …It is hardly a coincidence that these countries are either settler colonies themselves as the U.S. remains or colonizing countries which have established white supremist settler colonies.
Rutgers should be ashamed, and we shouldn’t stop telling them that this is outrageous and despicable.

Fortunately we’re strengthened by points of light that repel the darkness. I’m delighted to report that as of December 1st, we’ve given out $151,000 in GMW Right Start gift vouchers to 162 recipients in our first disbursement of the grant. We’ve already heard from families how grateful they are for this gift and having a wonderful experience at their local early childhood center. Our Greater MetroWest Right Start provides a one-time gift voucher toward the cost of tuition for families enrolling a child for the first time at one of our Jewish early childhood centers. Gift vouchers are available for $500 (children enrolled two or three days per week) or $1,000 (children enrolled four or five days per week). GMW Right Start is made possible by the generosity of The Cooperman Family Fund for a Jewish Future and matching funding is provided by the national JEWISH RIGHT START® program, an initiative of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Thank you!

So look … with all the darkness, let’s remember that we need each other. Jewish communities do best when we gather, when we stand together.

I hope to see you at one or some of the many community Chanuka events this week, because that’s our best response to hate.

Chag sameach,

Chief Executive Officer