Today is May 21, 2018 -

Thank you

I received the nicest e-mail yesterday that I must share:

  • “Hi Rob, Just a note to let you know how pleased I am to see the Federation sponsoring the President’s address.”

That was it. Those few short words of appreciation made my day.

Here are some excerpts of other e-mails that I have received over the past few weeks:

  • “We write to express our profound disappointment with Federation’s sponsorship of tomorrow’s web address by Prime Minister Netanyahu.”
  • “I found it disturbing reading the federation’s comment that it is considered a ‘distinguished event’ listening to Obama’s speech about the Iranian nuclear agreement.”
  • “I am disappointed in your succession of event speakers.”
  • “…to sell his propaganda to the Jewish community and to try to convince me otherwise is disgusting.”

Like many of my colleagues around the country, I’m very concerned about the anger and hostility generated by the Iranian Nuclear Agreement discussions. The President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel agreed to speak directly to the American Jewish public through Federation’s national office, and people have been outraged? These are the top officials of the two countries cared about most by American Jews. We don’t have to like either of the two men, but how about a little respect for their democratically elected positions?

I have now had two people tell me that they cannot attend Federation events because of how they’ve been treated by others because of their opinions. Yes, people are passionate; I get it. People disagree; I get that, too. But why are differences of opinion an excuse for bad behavior?

We have Jews around the world who need our collective help, and we can’t stand to be in the same room with each other?

Maybe my memory is short, and people will let me know if I’m incorrect, but from the 40+ years that I’ve lived here, I do not remember a time of such division in our Jewish community. What messages are we giving our children? Will they even have a Jewish community if we cannot get through these issues? Our rabbis have taught that sinat chinam (baseless hatred) was one of the main factors for the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the beginning of the nearly 2,000-year exile.

Those who know me well know that I rarely emote. I’ll try to regain my composure, but I thank you for letting me vent today.

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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