Here’s Some Good News

Like you, I am overwhelmed with negative and divisive news that we keep hearing, seeing, and reading. From the upcoming election with all the political discord to the continued spread of the coronavirus, it seems like we are bombarded with stressors all day. Today, I want to look at some of the positive things to hopefully pick us all up.

There is a “feel good” article in this week’s Jewish Chronicle about the completion of $17 million in renovations to Riverview Towers, our Jewish community’s low-income senior housing facility. Our Federation made significant grants to fund the consultants and lawyers necessary for this complicated financial transaction and we provided guarantees for the millions of dollars in tax credits. I want to congratulate the staff of Riverview Towers and the JAA for getting this done so that we can better care for our seniors. Appreciation also must go to our Federation and the financial power of our Jewish Community Foundation without which we would not have been able to secure this critical money. You can read the story online at jewishchronicle.timesofisrael.com/its-all-new-at-riverview-18-month-renovation-complete/.

Federation launched a major new initiative called 412×972 in the last few years to connect Pittsburgh area businesses with Israeli businesses. We have spun it off into a for-profit corporation with a business strategy that these products and connections are so valuable that companies will pay for these services. That has already become a reality and paying clients are already onboard. Gal Inbar, our incredibly talented and connected director, appeared on a YouTube interview with the Pittsburgh Technology Council to discuss this innovative approach. You can check it out below. And if you know a corporation that could benefit from these services, let us know.

My next two items are about very heavy topics and yet, I see the beautiful from both.

The Jewish Chronicle covered two stories about the Jewish Cemetery and Burial Association. Both show the growing role of this critical organization. Federation has worked with the leadership at JCBA and funded consultants to form a business plan to be able to care for our Pittsburgh region cemeteries. I love the concept of all of us trying to work together to show those who came before us the respect they deserve. One of those articles can be read online at jewishchronicle.timesofisrael.com/free-burials-and-unveilings-help-mourners-who-cant-afford-to-pay/.

The final piece of news does not make me happy, but makes me incredibly proud. In just a few weeks, our community will mark two years since the attack on our three congregations in 2018. A complete lineup of activities being organized under the leadership of the 10-27 Healing Partnership can be found at 1027healingpartnership.org/commemoration/. The Federation has taken the lead in shaping the Torah study portion of the programming. Studying Torah in memory of the deceased is a longtime Jewish custom and our doing so as a community will have special meaning. Please review the offerings featuring some of the greatest Jewish teachers from around the world at 1027healingpartnership.org/commemorative-study/. I hope you will join me as we honor those who lost their lives, the injured, and their families.

So much good. So much positive. I appreciated having a break from the news cycle to reflect on all of this.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach. Have a nice Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. And, wear your mask!

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