What’s better than end-of-year lists? Not much. So...here are seven things I learned this last year:
(1) Our federation staff is very international. It’s a reflection of who we are as a community. We’re a migratory, pluralistic, and diverse people. No surprise that our federation is like that, too.
(2) Sometimes it’s not the destination, it's the journey that counts.
(3) Israel unites us. And Hebrew is critical for that. We’ve started doing more about using Hebrew in the federation – and we’ll do more in the year ahead. In practically every country I visited when I worked for the Joint, I met someone from the local leadership who speaks Hebrew. You name it, they speak Hebrew there. If we want to deepen our ties to the Jewish world and strengthen Jewish identity, learning Hebrew is a really effective way to do it.
(4) We have amazing agencies, schools, and synagogues in our community. And there's a role for our Jewish Federation here, too. It’s about being the convener for all these strengths, and stepping up in times of need.
(5) You can’t draw a radius around being Jewish. I've seen this in years past. But it’s become really clear to me these last few months as CEO of our federation. The communities/institutions that succeed are the ones that think big, the ones that want to enlarge the pie for everyone. If you just want to squabble over ever-shrinking slices, the pie is going to shrink. If you start restricting yourself Jewishly to one program, one synagogue, one building – you’ll never feel connected to the passion and vision of what we have. We don’t draw borders around caring. We’re better than that.
(6) We’re only able to do what we do because of people like you. If you’ve supported the UJA Annual Campaign, take a look at the amazing impact you've had – and know how grateful we are.
(7) I only get to do this because of my family. And for them I’m grateful.
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