At 69, the country of Israel is still very young, despite the thousands of years of history and tradition the Jewish people bring to the Israeli culture. Remembering our closing thought at the Passover Seder—“next year in Jerusalem”—I wonder how many of us really think about what this sentiment means…or are we just saying the words? Some friends recently spent Passover in Jerusalem and marveled at what a meaningful experience it was. A member of our community is serving as a lone solider in Israel and through her eyes, I am seeing another perspective on Israel. When I was in Israel in 2012, one of the things that struck me was how comfortable it felt. Everything felt just a bit familiar while I was exploring places I had never been before. Regardless of your opinions about Middle East politics, most American Jews feel a connection to the state of Israel.
Many of our donors have been to Israel—some, multiple times. Whether visiting family, celebrating a mitzvah or participating on a mission or synagogue trip, every visit has an impact and brings new meaning to our connection and ties to Israel. One of the Federation’s core values is to provide humanitarian support in Israel. It’s easy to see Federation making an impact throughout the lives of Israelis. By partnering with The Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Federation is able to fund a host of social service programs designed to help children, new immigrants and the elderly. We do so much to help build community here in Howard County that it’s worth taking a pause in the month of May to think about our extended Jewish community in Israel.
On May 18, I hope you will join us to celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut in true Israeli style at our Blue and White Party with our shlicha, Hadar Shahar. And please mark your calendars for FedLive Beatlemania on June 7. We hope you will help us celebrate our honorees and all they do for our community. It’s a chance to connect, celebrate and be reminded of the good we do in helping others.