Last night, David Broza performed at Schenley Plaza as part of the Federation’s celebration of Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day). He was fantastic and ended his long set with a few of his most well-known songs. A great night was produced by our Federation through your support of the Community Campaign. This was a major departure from what we have done to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut in Pittsburgh and I applaud our volunteers and staff for trying something new.
I know that many of you are aware that I was given an honor at the official Israel Yom Haatzmaut ceremony where I spoke and lit a torch as the official representative of Jews of the diaspora. It was a tremendous honor that I accepted in memory of the eleven murdered Pittsburghers, the two injured and the entire Pittsburgh Jewish community. When I returned home, I determined that given the exposure I had in Israel, I would use the opportunity to reach out to Prime Minister Netanyahu (who was in the crowd on Yom Haatzmaut) to express some feelings about issues in which our national Federation system has been engaged. My intention was for my letter to be private, just between me and the Prime Minister. However, someone leaked it to the Jerusalem Post and it became a big story.
One of the mantras I share consistently is that our job at the Federation is to build unity in the Jewish community, not uniformity. We strive for a diverse community that can come together to work on the big issues facing our people and be supportive and understanding of one another, even with those with whom we differ. My letter was one way to express that feeling.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and wonderful Memorial Day holiday as we remember those who gave their lives to give us our freedom.