The yearly countdown between freedom and commitment
As I write these lines, Jewish communities worldwide are marking off the seven weeks between the Festival of Freedom (Passover) and the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot), the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. This special time of year offers an instructive paradox. On the one hand, all eyes look forward to the great moments at Mount Sinai. On the other, according to the sages of the Kabbalah, each of the forty-nine days in the interim has its own unique qualities and opportunities.
This combination of a great, unifying vision buttressed by scrupulous attention to every detail is a powerful engine for synergy. Business synergy is the basis of mergers, acquisitions, or strategic alliances. In our not-for-profit Jewish ecosystem, such strategic actions create economies of scope (meaning efficiencies formed by variety, not volume) by fully utilizing each organization’s resources and capabilities.
In some ways, this paradoxical period offers us a snapshot of the present. The Federation and our Jewish community are also constructing new pathways to an ambitious future, taking care to securely lay each brick in its place.
Since the first Jewish settlers came to this area in the late 1840s, congregational life continuously evolved, stretched, and became home to our uniquely diverse community. Just as we have done in the past, through collective will, recalibrated communal priorities, and creative experimentation, we’ll again reshape the Jewish landscape as Temple and Sinai and our other community partners contemplate their future.
In planning for our future, many in the community desire to keep our great traditions of Judaism alive while also honoring what unites us. While the different branches of Judaism reflect our diversity, personal acts of gemilut chasadim (loving-kindness) connect us at its core.
The Rabbis say that such acts are the foundations of the world because they are fundamental expressions of human solidarity and connectedness. Could there be any better-guiding principles for building a strong community?
Good connectivity stimulates community dialogue and belonging to a place. Our community FED Talks reinforce this objective by providing an intersection for divergent views to come together. FED Talk #3 will continue to address community opportunities and challenges to accelerate change. The theme of our next program is A NEW VISION FOR ENDURING VALUES. Mark your calendar for Sunday, June 4.
Whatever direction our congregations ultimately go in, the Federation will tap into our collective “Jewish synergy” and play an essential role in the health and vitality of our local community.
Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchazek – From Strength to Strength May We Be Strengthened. We celebrate the past, but at the same moment, we look to a bright future.