The Jewish calendar is alive and thriving here in Greater MetroWest. This past Monday night saw the Rachel Coalition honoring Thelma and Richard Florin at the Paper Mill Playhouse, Jewish Community Housing Corporation’s Annual Meeting, and a Jewish National Fund event.
No, I didn’t try to make it to all three. As a member of the Rachel Coalition Steering Committee, I was part of the packed house at the Paper Mill honoring the Florins, supporting the Rachel Coalition’s commitment to victims of domestic violence, and enjoying a great performance by Norbert Leo Butz, who spoke movingly about why efforts like the Rachel Coalition are so important.
Tuesday morning was not so enjoyable, at least at first. Lots of errands to get through, the bank, the dry cleaners, last stop — dropping off food for the Bobrow Kosher Food Pantry, which is an effort of my synagogue, Oheb Shalom Congregation, in South Orange.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw two white mini-buses dropping off people. I was relieved, because I knew it would be easier to get into the building without having to go through getting buzzed in. Then I realized who and what I was seeing and I had to smile.
What I was seeing was MetroTransport buses, run by Daughters of Israel, dropping off participants in the Café Europa program sponsored by Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, both Federation partner agencies. Café Europa offers Holocaust survivors wonderful programming and the chance for socializing and is housed at Oheb Shalom. MetroTransport was launched with a $1 million endowment funded by The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and is annually supported by the UJA Campaign.
So what made me smile? This is what we do as a vibrant Jewish community. We bring together frail survivors of the worst humanity can do. We help provide a place to turn for women dealing with domestic violence. We celebrate and support Israel, providing Israel engagement programs for all ages. All of our agencies added together, funded by dollars from the UJA Annual Campaign and brought together by Federation to find solutions to the many challenges and opportunities we face as Jews in the 21st century. It’s what makes us a community.
The galas and celebrations and annual meetings are important and necessary, but we shouldn’t lose sight of what it is that they make possible. And on Monday morning at 11 a.m. in South Orange, I saw just one little snapshot that I wanted to share with you.
We are so lucky to live in a community like Greater MetroWest. Please help us continue to be there to meet the needs that already exist, to create the new programs that will move us forward and to continue to make this community so great. Join me, and a terrific team of young leaders — Pam Baskin, David Fuerstein, Michele Patrone, and Aaron and Jessica Wolff — on June 24 at 7 p.m. for our closing phonathon. It will be a fun event and help to close the campaign – be there (or, if you can’t, be ready to answer the call when it comes!!)
Ó2013 Leslie Dannin Rosenthal