Wherever I go, people keep asking me, “how are you”? I know they are inquiring because of the intensity of the Federation’s work post October 27th and they are deeply sincere and caring by asking about my personal state. I appreciate the thoughts, yet I am completely uncomfortable with the question. Yes, all of us at the Federation worked incredible hours with little sleep for a prolonged period and continue to work even longer hours than normal with the memories of the attack always hovering over us. But our work is a privilege. It is our honor to serve this Jewish community and to help plan for its future.
That’s why I am uncomfortable with the question, while truly appreciating the concern. The truth is that for everyone since that day in October, the answer to the question, “how are you?” is different than before.
One of the many positive things that sticks in my memory in the days and weeks following that murderous anti-Semitic attack was the sense of cooperation and unity that permeated our Jewish community. I know much of it existed before and much continues until today. How do we keep it going? How do we amplify it? How do we force ourselves to think about the big issues facing the Jewish community like educating our children, keeping our young adults Jewishly connected, taking care of the needs of our vulnerable, insuring that our seniors live lives of meaning, including those with special abilities in Jewish life, sending a lifeline to Jews around the world, and securing our Jewish institutions? And while we think about these and many other critically important goals, can we collaborate more to better achieve them? It means dropping our institutional egos to achieve audacious goals. It means, perhaps, different communal structures and different communal strategies.
These are the questions I want us as a Federation to contemplate and to lead. We have an opportunity right now with our deeper sense of unity and collaboration to think ever so boldly to achieve audacious goals.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom.