A Very Fine House
The New Year comes as a gift — every new year offers an opportunity to take a deep look at all aspects of our lives, our community, the things we treasure and want to keep close, what needs improvement and polish, and what should be discarded.
We pray. We meditate–for the power of clear thought–so that our deeds and words are in accord.
In my last edition of Minute with Moshe, I spoke about the importance of the Federation being a Bayit Chazak–a strong and courageous “house” as we work towards fulfilling our 2025 Community Vision.
This vision will be my legacy project. What is a legacy project?
My hope of hopes is that it will be a project that appeals to our collective responsibility for action that moves our community forward. A project rooted in Jewish values that speak to our hearts with clear purpose.
Simply put, knowing what we want, organizes our thinking and our actions. Only with this knowledge can we plant the seeds of fruit we expect to harvest.
One truth of the human experience is that our minds are connected to our hearts. We see ourselves as rational. And we like to think that we make decisions based on logic.
But emotions play a decisive role in virtually every aspect of our lives–especially when it comes to making decisions.
Therefore, it’s fitting to tie our three-year community vision to what we feel most strongly about. It’s appropriate to enlist our emotions in these decisions.
For starters, I’m emotional about building community that will make us stronger. We must always have a thriving campus for Jewish life.
To thrive, we must first be a safe and secure community. And this core focus requires choices.
Shall we plan our future in our respective silos? Or, shall we evaluate the benefits of a coordinated security plan?
As concerns regarding security rise, so do the costs to provide it. Funding a safe and secure sanctuary is paramount to our future.
This of course, leads me to my feelings about adopting new paths toward a united Jewish community. Make no mistake however, “united” does not and will not imply a “uniform” community. I’m just as passionate about celebrating the diversity of Judaism in our community.
It’s intriguing from a planning perspective to think about building capacity through broader community engagement–and in doing so, creating ways to celebrate our pluralism–as one community and one people.
Creating a strong Bayit (house) to attract community partners, securing our safety, and promoting unity are three broad platforms for action in the 2025 Community Vision. Each one of these priorities resonates emotionally for me. And, in my view, each is essential to our potential and promise for building community.
Our greatest challenge, is that sometimes–perhaps most times—we focus on the minutia and only see the small picture. But it’s worth taking time to step back and look at the big picture too!
The role of the Federation as a community-based organization isn’t complicated. We exist to promote joy, meaning, and growth through Jewish life in our community.
As a collective, we exist to see and explore and expand upon the big picture. When looking at Jewish life in our region through a broad lens, it’s our unique responsibility to envision things – especially the sustainability of our community.
This is what the Community Plan is all about. But a plan won’t work without participation. Your feedback, your contribution and support are essential to the plan.
All of us have a role to play in this work. And as each new day passes, I am encouraged by those among us who are saying “Hineni” – “I am here” for our vision of a bright Jewish future and all it implies.
Among the many who are joining this call for a bright future in our community is a young man who many of you know well. He is good, bright and understands the obligation we all have to weaving a web of community connections and care.
I speak now of Steve Lotter who has agreed to join the professional staff at our Federation as the new Director of Community Engagement. As I’ve come to know Steve, I’ve seen his commitment to building community and planting seeds.
Please join me in welcoming Steve to the Federation. He joins a team that understands the power of Jewish unity–and the urgency that we must move beyond our individual silos so that barriers to a shared vision for the future are removed.
I’m delighted to begin Vision 2025, a three-year community plan at the Federation with Steve and his colleagues Bob, the two Dans, Jon, Nancy, Rabbi, Sheri and Shirlee. While we have much work to do, we are developing a high-performance, outcomes-oriented culture that is infused with the spirit of our Jewish people–people who’ve overcome challenge upon challenge over the millennia, and given birth to something new time-after-time.
Today, with Steve on board, our three-year action plan calls for innovation, adaptation, and creativity. The things that worked so well for the Federation five or ten years ago, are no longer enough.
Such is the essence of our new FED TALKS program–introduced so that we can address even the most difficult questions in our community. These programs will help guide us toward 2025 by allowing for each of us to inspire the community and build the greatest spirit of commitment to each other that we’ve ever had.
As you know by now, I am not shy about sharing my enthusiasm for our collective future. Yes, there are headwinds in our future. We can allow them to slow or even stop us. Or, we can raise our sails, leverage them, and move closer to our shared goals, fulfilling our destiny as a resilient and thriving Jewish community.
Finally, I want to express my personal gratitude to the entire community for your guidance and support over the past year. “Hineni” for you.