One of my favorite times of the year is the High Holidays—preparing for the New Year brings a sense of renewal and a fresh start. Many of us also engage in personal reflection at this time of year. At the Jewish Federation of Howard County, the staff and board members have been reflecting over the summer about ways to make the Federation better than ever. We are thinking more strategically about our programs and allocation of resources, and have planned another year of great programs and engagement opportunities.
Our first event of the year is our Campaign Kickoff, where you can meet our new shlicha, Ella Haetzni, and hear how our community dollars are helping build a better Jewish future in Krakow, Poland. We also have a re-energized new Red Tent Club series, Jew Year’s Eve, Israel Café programs with Ella, a new year of Shabbat Tots and Tots & Tales, and more. In addition, we're gearing up for The Great Challah Bake, an expanded Global Day of Jewish Learning, and our annual Pom Lion Chai Tea to round out a very busy fall.
Over the summer, many of you have engaged with our Interim Executive Director to share thoughts and perspectives about the Federation and help drive future planning and direction. One message is already quite clear—our community wants to have a more unified voice to represent the Jewish community of Howard County. We held a productive exploratory meeting over the summer to create a JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Committee) that we plan to establish over the coming months.
Our recent efforts to help support the victims of Hurricane Harvey and to help feed the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda reinforces for me how generous and caring our community is. In times of need, I am so proud of how quickly we are able to respond. In just over 30 days, we raised over $20,000 to feed Ugandan Jews, and I have seen many of you contribute to help the hurricane victims. We are truly blessed to be able to help others, and to fulfill a core Jewish value of kol Yisrael areivim zeh la zeh—all Jews are responsible for one another. We continue to help the vulnerable within our own community as well by fulfilling JEN requests quickly over the summer. For this new year, I hope you will find new and interesting ways to become involved with the Federation and our broader Jewish community. As we move into this holiday season, I wish you all…