Feb 14, 2014

All the Good We Do Together

Last week, our Jewish community once again came together in all its vibrant diversity with one purpose: to acknowledge and celebrate all the good we do together. From our synagogues, partner agencies and schools… from longtime leaders and donors… to newcomers… and multiple generations, a sold out crowd of 750 of us filled the Boca West Country Club with ruach at THE EVENT with guest speaker, Mandy Patinkin. Click here to enjoy photos from The Event.

You could feel the powerful pulse of our community right from the beats of our opening video.

Looking out from the podium on that incredible night, I saw not a sea of tables, but the faces of our rabbis, agency leaders, donors – the caring leaders, contributors, volunteers and friends whose generosity and commitment to our people make this Jewish community such a remarkable place to live, give and grow together.

And, together, we honored those for whom the good we do has made a vital difference. With gratitude, courage and joy, they came to the microphone to let us know that, together, we are truly bringing the words Feed, Protect, Teach, Inspire, Save and Comfort to life every day for our Jewish family near and far. We applauded 92-year-old Lillian, an independent book lover with macular degeneration, and her JFS senior companion who has become “her eyes.” We kvelled as AJ, a senior at FAU and aspiring Jewish leader, told us how his life has been transformed by Hillel activities on campus, in Israel and rebuilding a family’s hurricane-damaged home on an alternative spring break in New Orleans. We cheered for Dima, who described his Jewish journey from its very inception at JAFI camps in the Former Soviet Union to becoming a Lone Soldier in Israel to marrying under a huppah and finding a career in international Jewish communal work.

And then we wept with Judith who, last year, as a long-retired widow, suddenly took custody of her five teenage grandchildren whose mother’s mental illness kept her from caring for them. At how grateful she is for help from JFS with housing, meals and “everything it takes to make a home,” for summer camp and activities at the JCC, and for the joy and security the children have found with “Ima,” knowing “the Jewish community is always there for them.” These powerful personal stories culminated with a letter from Judith’s oldest grandchild, who will head off to college this Fall. You can find out just how much good we are doing together right from Brianna by taking just a moment to click here.

We also heard from new resident and donor Sami about how, after living throughout the world, he chose our extraordinary community for his family to live a vibrant, fulfilling Jewish life.

These vivid stories are just a few among thousands in the incredible mosaic of how, every day, our community answers the calls for help from down the street and around the world. Thousands more calls are waiting to be answered but, without you, those stories of hope cannot be written. The Lillians, AJs, Dimis and Judiths are counting on us, and you can make a vital difference quickly and easily today by donating online.

But if my words here haven’t conveyed just how much good we can do together, here’s another chance to hear it from Brianna.

As I mark my 18-month anniversary with our Federation, I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts at asktheceo@bocafed.org about how, together, we can write our caring community’s next chapter.

B’shalom,

Matthew C. Levin, President & CEO
Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County

Past Messages from Matt