Mar 28, 2014

A Night – and a Community – of Inspiration

Sometimes in life we’re overwhelmed by an experience in ways we didn’t expect. This past Monday night was one of those times - for me and most certainly for many of the 400+ others at A Night of Inspiration. Billed as “Six of Our Community Rabbis: One Night – One Stage – One Hour,” the program sounded interesting. But even as I spoke to the audience at the start of the event, I had no idea we were in for a night that could rival any TED Talks.

Developed and moderated by Rabbi Josh Broide, A Night of Inspiration was presented by Boca Raton Jewish Experience free of charge at Olympic Heights High School auditorium. I’m extremely proud of our Federation’s support for the event through one of the new grants we’ve been making to synagogues and organizations for outreach into our community.

Through compelling personal stories, Judaic text and tradition, these rabbis both individually and as a whole, thoroughly engaged our hearts as well as our heads in this profound shared Jewish experience: Rabbi David Baum (Congregation Shaarei Kodesh), Rabbi Yaakov Gibber (Boca Jewish Center/Shaaray Tefilla), Rabbi Efrem Goldberg (Boca Raton Synagogue), Rabbi Dan Levin (Temple Beth El), Rabbi Robert Silvers (Congregation B’nai Israel), and Rabbi David Steinhardt (B’nai Torah Congregation).

The night was also deeply inspiring as another powerful sign of how, from varied backgrounds, observance, ages and neighborhoods, we are working together to strengthen our Jewish community for all. These rabbis came to the stage from Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements. I am privileged to know them personally, and they are examples of our community's remarkable spiritual leadership. Shortly after coming here as CEO, I began holding lunch gatherings for local rabbis to strengthen our relationships and more closely work together as community leaders and builders. Together, we are making strides to bring more of our neighbors into active Jewish life in this rich, diverse community.

A Night to Remember truly exemplified its tagline, “We believe passionately in the power of Jewish ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.” Yasher koach to Rabbi Broide for creating and coordinating this visionary program. It left no doubt that from our rich, vibrant diversity, our Jewish community is united in caring and commitment to each other, to our homeland in Israel and to our Jewish family throughout the world. I am proud and excited as we look forward to many more such experiences.

Our community will be coming together again in the next ten days for two different important activities. In just two days, on March 30, the phones will ring out from our Federation campus as hundreds of volunteers reach out with opportunities for everyone to help our community and our people on Super Sunday. And a week later on April 6, young families will join in a free 1st Birthday Party for PJ Library® at South County Regional Park.

So don’t hesitate to get in touch at asktheceo@bocafed.org to share your ideas on how, together, we can create such powerful shared Jewish moments in our community and bring more of our neighbors into the amazing array of Jewish opportunities around us.

B’shalom,

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

Past Messages from Matt