In the Footsteps of the Greatest Generation

I stood on Omaha Beach last week, looking up at the seawall and the cliffs that confronted the thousands of American soldiers who landed there on June 6, 1944, to begin the D-Day invasion. It's quiet now on Omaha Beach, but on an overcast, windy day in November of 2009, it's still easy to conjure up the noise, confusion, terror and bravery of 65 years ago. It's actually hard to believe that the Allies pulled off this massive operation that led to the end of World War II in Europe. The consequences of failure would have been unfathomable. And it was accomplished by young men who gave their all for their country. Those who came home are our fathers and grandfathers, their girlfriends and then wives are our mothers and grandmothers, who stayed home and did their own form of service. They are now referred to as "The Greatest Generation," and with good reason.

They did what they had to do, they didn't really talk about the war, and then they went on to build up this country. In the Jewish world, they founded synagogues, JCCs, and strengthened the modern Jewish agencies that are with us still - the vocational services, family and child services, and homes for the elderly. They willingly and cheerfully raised funds for the annual UJA Campaign - and they still do. If you join us this coming Sunday - Super Sunday - you will find the MetroWest Greatest Generation at the phones, collecting pledges, greeting other volunteers. They do this with enthusiasm and with the conviction that perpetuating the ideals and values of tikkun olam, repair of the world, can best be accomplished when we work together. For those of you reading this who are, in fact, members of the Greatest Generation, my thanks, love, and admiration.

I will be making my calls this year with an angel on my shoulder, urging me on. We lost a dear family friend on Thanksgiving, a member of that Greatest Generation, a Lion of Judah and a force of nature. Janice Epstein, z"l, must have made thousands and thousands of phone calls on behalf of the United Jewish Federation of Bayonne, New Jersey, in her lifetime, never taking "no" personally and never giving up, either. The phone calls are simply a way for volunteers to give donors an opportunity to do a mitzvah, something Janice did for so many people. It is a privilege to follow in her footsteps.

So come say hi on Super Sunday - I'm there all day and there's a lot going on, in addition to the main work of making the phone calls that make our MetroWest world go 'round. And if you can't make it to Whippany, please respond as generously as you can when the phone call comes. Every gift matters, every gift makes a difference, every one of you is a meaningful part of this MetroWest community.

See you on Sunday!



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