Wherever we find Jewish communities across the globe, they exist as the earthly fingerprints of G-d. Our local community is no different. And as such, we are obliged to respect and revere something more significant than our mortal selves.
Within Jewish life, we see many ways in which people venerate something beyond themselves. Most obviously, the Orthodox venerate tradition and commitment to halacha (Jewish law). The more liberal element would perhaps hallow universal values, equality, justice, and freedom.
I joined the Federation almost three years ago and had an "aha" moment. Despite all the different ways we honor what is sacred beyond ourselves, it strikes me that we also have something in common. And that "something" is a shared value when we realize that our lives are not just about us. We illuminate this shared value when we come together to build community. Likewise, the very fact of joining a collective organization like a Federation demonstrates there is something important "beyond ourselves."
When we draw a larger circle around ourselves and our busy lives, we make a beautiful and meaningful statement: There is more to life than just me.
Community building strikes at the heart of Federation's Vision 2025: Renewal Begins Now! Every generation faces unique challenges.
This concept of renewal is at the heart of the Jewish enterprise. It is the starting point for a renaissance in Jewish life. Yes, it will take energy. It will require effort and intelligence. And yes, it will require resources and planning.
Just ask Aaron Perri. Aaron’s message was clear for those who participated in our first FED TALK. Without connecting, we cannot engage each other. Without engagement, we can never sustain a vibrant and healthy community. The connections are critical. Engagement is vital.
Aaron, the Executive Director of Venues Parks & Arts in South Bend, spoke of thinking in bold ways. He practices the things he says. He's made a significant difference for all of us who live in the city of South Bend.
But he also made it clear that nothing was possible on his own. Aaron values the power of interdependence and effective collaboration over the silo mentality. It makes his work easier. And, as he made clear, the community strengthens in every way when people and organizations work together for a common purpose.
The power of engagement is true for South Bend and valid for our small Jewish community. The conversations we have and the actions we take define us. It's always been this way. It always will be this way. Our actions represent the voice of beyond ourselves – a transformation from "me" to "we." It is how we embrace today's challenges and think about plans for tomorrow.
Our community's challenges require bold new solutions – solutions that depend upon new partnerships, paradigms, and possibilities. The good news, of course, is that there are solutions.
And speaking of solutions brings me to our next FED TALK on Sunday, February 12. The February FED TALK picks up where Aaron Perri left off. This FED TALK will share the inspiring journey of Youngstown, Ohio, whose congregations worked in unison to plan for their sustainable future.
We will have an opportunity to hear two community leaders at the forefront of these discussions. They will speak in detail of contemporary solutions and mechanisms they embraced to forge their new future and how they never gave up on this epic journey.
We bring powerful community development stories to you through FED TALKS because conversations are vital. FED TALKS help us prepare for the next generation of Jewish life in our community.
So, please join us for this riveting conversation on Sunday, February 12, at 10:30 AM. Participate in the discussion about looking beyond ourselves as we move boldly toward a stronger, more resilient Jewish future in our local community.
Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley
Phone: (574) 233-1164 | Email: email@example.com