Are we resilient enough for sustainable, inclusive growth?
As World War II drew to a close, South Bend and Mishawaka Jewish leaders organized to address the vital issues and concerns of the day. Their efforts led inevitably to the founding of our own Jewish Federation.
Then as now, life is shaped by the interplay of shifting demographics and complex challenges. Challenges are hardly new to the Jewish People.
Since the day when Jacob took the name Israel, Jewish communities have managed adversity, withstood shocks, and continuously adapted by leaning on institutions for stability.
Are we prepared as a community to adapt to our new reality?
In this season of Hanukkah’s light, it’s time to rededicate ourselves. It’s time to set a high bar for the future. It’s time that we define a safe, nurturing, and secure future together.
This envisioned future represents the gap separating where we are and where we want to be. How we go about narrowing the gap is what I call a “once in a generation” opportunity.
As Rabbi Sacks (z’l) wrote in his book Future Tense, “God’s call is to that which is not yet. Judaism is a future seeking civilization.”
This generational moment must be seized to write the next chapter of our local Jewish history. In my conversations with Jewish leaders and members, I sense we are eager to write a bold script that is vision-guided and aspirational. Anything less diminishes our potential.
The promise of this once-in-a-generation possibility goes to the core of my Vision 2025. In short, we need to provide authentic pathways for people to connect. It’s not about selling transactional memberships but rather building stronger relationships required to sustain a more vibrant Jewish community into the future.
In this Vision, the Federation is a catalyst for developing our local Jewish life on our 28-acre campus.
This is where FED TALKS come in. FED TALKS are short presentations from experts who’ve successfully tackled difficult challenges. Our FED TALKS will be focused. Our speakers will talk about tomorrow.
Talk One will feature an expert who speaks fluently regarding the principles of community sustainability. By its very definition, sustainability requires a sober look at community development, renewal, and investment. But there is exciting news on this front. And we can’t wait to share it with you.
Talk Two will feature an expert from outside our local community who’s successfully helped bring the diverse traditions of the Jewish people together in one local community. This fits well with our local effort to unite people where our identities and beliefs intersect. Again, the news on this front is exciting, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Talk Three will introduce exciting ideas for our own local community. I expect this talk to consist of a ‘wow’ moment, including pictures and sound. It will feature a roadmap around obstacles and conflict, as well as creative and workable solutions that put us on a path to a prosperous future.
FED TALKS will inspire us to work with enthusiasm toward Vision 2025.
Focusing the collective might of our human spirit on K’Lal Yisrael – an aspirational goal to be one people and one community. We will get where we need to go. By underscoring the concept of Bayit Chazak – the purpose of transforming our own Federation of local Jews into one strong and courageous house—we will meet the needs of our community both today and tomorrow.
We must engage in a community conversation to develop specific calls to action to meet these twin aspirations. FED TALKS will serve as a high-profile version of these conversations. The discussions will create value by themselves. But it is the action that we are focused on.
In my last Minute with Moshe article, I talked about the winds of change. I mentioned not understanding how a sailboat can move against the wind and the epiphany of learning that such headwinds are actually the energy that a boat with a strong rudder needs – it’s the headwinds that the boat uses to move forward.
Yes, FED TALKS will address headwinds. They will address the headwinds of change in ways that will inspire us all with ideas that work – big ideas that are changing the world in ways that make life more meaningful for everyone.
I look forward to bringing these ideas and people to our community and hope to see you at FED TALKS as 2023 unfolds.