Our Federation has begun a strategic planning process with the goal of putting a roadmap in place for the next few years. Some might ask why we would do such a thing in the middle of a pandemic crisis. Our answer is that now is the exact right time to be thinking about the future. We need to recognize that despite the emergencies that arise in any particular moment we must also maintain one portion of our attention on our future world.
For example, we launched our marketing efforts for our 2022 Mega Mission to Israel over the last several months with the hope that by next summer we will be able to once again come together as a community and explore our connection to the Jewish world beyond our borders. We find ourselves in a time where we need to be dealing with the emergent issues of today while still thinking about our future. We have to “walk and chew gum at the same time”. I can promise you there will be a future and if we do not think about it and plan for it, we will, by default, be falling behind.
I see such efforts not only at the Federation but also within our eight beneficiary agencies. They are putting things in place to help those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic, to arrange for vaccination programs for our most vulnerable and to provide food for those who cannot afford to do so themselves; all while also planning for summer camping experiences, thinking about what education, both formal and informal, will look like in a post-pandemic period and establishing support systems that will most likely be needed to cope with the mental and financial health issues post-quarantine.
Such forward thinking is inherently Jewish. In this week’s parsha, Va’era, God seems to be directing a strategic plan for the Jewish people. He instructs:
“Say, therefore, to the Israelite people: I am the LORD. I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements… I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession, I the LORD.”
That sounds like a great vision statement for what would become an earth shaking change for the Jewish people. The end result was going from slavery to freedom.
The Jewish people were enslaved with no powers but with a strong vision and leadership…well, you know how the story goes.
We are continuing our day-to-day work of pushing for a successful 2021 Community Campaign now standing at $6.7 million. We continue to work with donors to actualize their legacies for our community through our Jewish Community Foundation. We continue to raise and allocate COVID Relief funds of well over $7 million. We continue to ensure our Jewish community remains safe through our security program. We continue to build strong relationships with government officials and with diverse communities. AND, we continue to think about what comes next.
Shabbat Shalom. Wear your mask!
P.S. It has been several weeks since I have written, so I want to share a few quick updates from our Federation: