I must share an unbelievable story from this past week that is more personal than I usually get in my messages. A small package with a book in it arrived at the Federation. A person from Monongahela, PA (who I assume is not Jewish), sent a note in the package addressed to “whom it may concern” stating:
“Several days ago, I was looking at items in storage for many years. I discovered the enclosed book on “Theodor Herzl, Architect of a Nation.” I noticed it was borrowed from a library long in the past…..I am thus donating this book to your Federation….” He later writes, “However, if there is a cumulative late fee for returning this wonderful book, please be considerate and do not send the bill to me. (Lol.)”
His last sentence made me laugh out loud.
The gift of the book to our Federation alone is a really nice story. It shows that when someone in the region thinks of whom to contact within the Jewish community, they think of the Federation. It makes me proud to know that to many in the general community our Federation is a perceived public face of the Jewish community.
Amazingly enough, the story gets more personal. The book was actually written by my father! (a picture of the book cover is below). The sender obviously has no idea about this connection. I will be writing him a note not only thanking him for giving the book to the Federation but also about this crazy connection.
I went down to my basement to pull out my personal copy of the book my father gave me when it was first published during my senior year of high school in Framingham, MA. He signed it with the following message:
May Herzl’s ideals and love of Israel continually inspire and lead you as you develop your own Jewish consciousness.
Dad, October 1987
I think my father’s wish to me of Herzl’s “love of Israel” refers not only to his desire to build a Jewish homeland but a love of the Jewish people. Herzl’s most often quoted line is “Im Tirzu, Ein Zo Agadah” which translates into English as “If you will it, it is no dream”. Let us continue to be a Jewish community that continues to dream and act on those dreams to fulfill our aspirations, and let the Federation continue to provide the resources and opportunities to allow such dreaming.
Stay safe. Wear your mask. Go Steelers!
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a very Happy Chanukah!