Hope and resolve for healing and peace
Part I – Leading Change with Hope and Resolve
As I sit down to write this edition of Minute with Moshe, I have a heavy heart.
Today marks five years since the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh – the deadliest act of Antisemitism in our nation’s history. We are also learning today that in response to the devastating massacre of October 7, Israel is beginning the second stage of the War against Hamas with intensified ground and air operations into Gaza.
The tragedies of the Simcha Torah and Tree of Life attacks shattered the hearts of the Jewish people. Communities were devastated, leaving behind survivors and families who will never be the same.
Today, I write with hope and resolve for healing and peace.
The Israeli national anthem includes the words:
עוד לא אבדה תקוותנו
Still, our hope is not lost …
And I agree, hope is not lost. But our hope—the one that envisioned more extraordinary things than just survival, more important things than just land and existence; a dream of an excellent and better society and an inclusive and welcoming homeland; flourishing, innovative, and a verdant forest of exceptionality, a light unto the family of nations—needs hope.
Part II – Leading Change in Our Community
A historical note: Jewish people settled in South Bend in the late 1840s and 1850s. South Bend Jews established a burial society in 1859, even before organizing a synagogue. The Hebrew Society of Brotherly Love, founded by Henry Barth, Abraham Hanauer, Theo J. Seixas, Henry Goodman, and Meyer Livingston, pledged to provide and maintain a suitable burial ground for the local Jewish community and properly bury the disadvantaged (Source: Michiana Jewish Historical Society).
In the coming generation, Jews will have lived in the Bend for two centuries. And today, like our predecessors, South Bend Jews are grappling with decisions that will define our community for years to come.
As we contemplate the future of our Jewish ecosystem, the unique role of the Federation is to take into account the needs of individuals, families, and our communal institutions in the community planning process. Working with you to ensure the vitality of our local Jewish community is one of YOUR Federation’s prime responsibilities.
The historic role of the Federation is revered for its lifesaving mission and achievements to provide relief to distressed European Jewish communities. Today, this tradition continues with JFNA’s continental response to disasters and crises, providing assistance and rapidly raising and distributing funds, including for the current emergency aid to Israel.
From this tradition of helping our fellow Jews, your local Federation welcomes the opportunity to help create the roadmap to our Jewish future that provides the necessary infrastructure, services, and programs that build the capacity of our community.
To advance our mission, your Federation is motivated to be an agent of change. And our motivation is deeply rooted in the Torah portion for Lech-Lecha, which embodies the idea that animates and drives the history of the Jewish People and the communities we build. HaShem promises Abraham at the start of his long journey that the Jewish People will be the vehicle through which blessings will come into the world, making the world a better place.
To be a blessing. To do good in the world – is sacred work. To this end, the Fed will direct its talent and resources toward marshaling our collective know-how, creativity, and innovation. Together, we have a communal responsibility to develop a plan with goals to meet the challenges of our shared destiny effectively.
Within the larger community plan, the Fed is working to implement a three-year goal to “bring hearts together” in a manner that nurtures unity in our community with a committed focus on our shared values. The Federation’s overarching goal encapsulates the aspiration to develop a vibrant and sustainable campus for Jewish life.
“It’s Moments Like This” – the theme of this year’s Annual Campaign, speaks to the Federation’s efforts to cast a wide net around meaningful Jewish experiences that connect us with our traditions and values.
I believe these moments of connection underpin the “why” of your support for the Federation. Whatever your reasons for supporting the Federation – YOUR Federation will be a place to feel welcomed, safe, and proud to be Jewish.
Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazeik - Be strong, be strong, and we will strengthen one another.
Part III – Giving Praise, Where Praise is Due
I want to thank the Annual Campaign Committee for their dedication and commitment. Through the end of October, we’ve raised $332,500 towards our 2024 goal.
Every gift, at every level, is valued and essential. Whether you want or need our services today, tomorrow, or never, the Fed is here for our entire community. Whatever your “moment,” whatever your “why,” I thank you for supporting the Federation.
Part IV – Winter Camp Ideal
As I write this article about Camp Ideal, the atrocities of an unimaginable nightmare as part of a premeditated terrorist action on October 7 are heartbreaking.
It’s Moments Like This...we remember every day, every second, how precious our Jewish kids are and that they’re missing.
It’s Moments Like This…we need Camp Ideal more than ever.
For many families with children, life is a fast-paced and sometimes disconnected world. Camp Ideal, the Federation’s youth camp program for over 60 years, is an outstanding way to give children a sense of belonging – just ask any of our camp alums.
Research shows that Jewish day camp is the most effective way to build a positive Jewish identity that can last a lifetime. Camp Ideal welcomes campers from all faiths, backgrounds, and a broad range of capabilities while emphasizing Jewish values such as tzedakah (giving back), kehillah (community), and givun (diversity). I’m so proud that Camp Ideal has created an atmosphere of inclusiveness and understanding while helping Jewish children connect with each other and their traditions.
I’m also super excited to announce that Abbee LaPlace will be our Winter and Summer Camp Director. Abbee told me recently, “With ten camp seasons under my belt, Camp Ideal is in my DNA!” Please join me in welcoming Abbee and enroll your kids today! (More info on Page 10)
Part V – It’s Moments Like This
It’s your generous giving to the Annual Campaign that enables the Federation to carry out its mission. While contributions of all kinds help move the community forward, it is specifically unrestricted gifts to the Fed’s Annual Campaign that allow for the most impact in all areas.
Unrestricted support allows the Federation to allocate funds wherever they are most needed within the community. Unrestricted giving to the Campaign offers the most expansive reach to maximize support for our community events, educational programs, Camp Ideal, Partnership2Gether, social and human services, leadership development, safety and security, combating antisemitism, facilities management, and more.
What I love most about my job is working with my board, professional staff, and community members to fulfill the promise of our mission. As we embark on a new Jewish year, your Federation is thrilled and honored to bring you meaningful, inspirational, and exciting programs to engage you in rich experiences by learning and celebrating together.
This season, you will see some of your favorite programs returning as well as some new features. Oldies but goodies include Camp Ideal, Date Night, Film Fest, The Yoms, and Purim Carnival. New programs include Sundays at the Fed, round 2 of Fed TALKS, PJ Library for kids, and new outreach events.
The best way to stay current on all that’s happening at our Federation is via our weekly email and our monthly Our Community Newsletter publication. Check out our website at TheJewishFed.org for program info, registration links, and more.