Today is August 20, 2019 -
As I started to share, I find the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly (GA) very inspirational.
While waiting in line to pick up my nametag, I learned that the woman behind me is married to an old friend with whom I studied at the Hebrew Academy and played at Camp Givah. They now live in Connecticut. Over the course of the next few days, I ran into many people originally from our community who are now very involved or married to people very involved in their new Jewish communities. We also had our own contingent of 14 people, who still live in Northeastern New York, attending the conference. For a community our size, we were quite well represented. Knowing that we have such a commitment to Jewish life in our community, and that we have for many years, inspires me.
On the first night of the conference, I shook hands with Congressman John Lewis. On the second night of the conference, I spent time with Harold Grinspoon. ‘nuff said!
I continue to be inspired by Shimon Peres z”l. His son Chemi took the stage to some polite applause. He finished an incredibly moving and inspirational speech worthy of his heritage to a loud standing ovation.
“When the world is divided let us be united,” said Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. He gets an ovation from me on his way in and on his way out–every time.
Perhaps most inspirational for me is the direction of our national movement. The organization best known for its leadership in fundraising is recognizing the changing landscape of American Judaism and shifting considerable focus to the area of engagement. Every Jew is important, and we need to be flexible enough to ensure that our communities meet our unique and collective needs. We’ve known this here for a few years, and we’re ahead of the curve. This national shift should give us some confidence that we’re on the right track and inspire us to continue the important work.