Right now, throughout Ukraine, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee are monitoring the political situation with heightened tensions between that country and Russia. There is a sizable Jewish community in Ukraine and our financial support of these two organizations provides food and medicine for Jewish seniors, security for communal infrastructure, supports for those wishing to make Aliyah to Israel and Jewish identity building programs.
At the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, their staff and volunteers have been working to assist Jewish families displaced by the now extinguished Woolsey Fire and to assist Jewish institutions completely destroyed, including several Jewish overnight camps. In the midst of all of this, our Los Angeles counterparts organized a memorial service for Bernice and Sylvan Simon who were murdered on October 27th along with nine other souls. A Simon family member living in Los Angeles reached out to us in Pittsburgh about organizing such a service and without any hesitation, the Los Angeles Federation stepped in.
This week, our Federation’s first ever cohort of Honeymoon Israel participants took off from Pittsburgh International Airport for a trip of a lifetime. Honeymoon Israel is designed to bring a cohort of 20 couples on an immersive Israel experience to help instill a love of Judaism. Following the trip, they remain a cohort with programming that brings them together. I can’t wait to hear about their experiences when they return.
While the Federation is appropriately paying intense attention to our Pittsburgh Jewish communal needs following the murders that took place just over a month ago, it is so vital to remember that our Federation reach is unbelievably broad, deep and beautiful. It is the power of our collective Federation approach that makes Jewish history happen today. To hear more stories about how our Community Campaign is making a difference, including in response to the murderous attack of October 27th, please make every effort to attend This Is Us, our 2019 Campaign Kickoff, on December 18th. To register or read more about it.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a very happy Chanukah. Go Steelers!
P.S. If you were unable to attend the Federation sponsored Shloshim program on Monday, night, you can view it in its entirety on our website.