Mar 6, 2015

Growing Our Community and Campus, Securing our Homeland

While you’ve been hearing from me through other forums, I’m excited to restart my CEO Messages after a very busy hiatus. I look forward to sharing news and perspectives with you again. And I have some important ones to share today.

Our campus and Jewish community continue to buzz with energy and enthusiasm. From all corners, we’re coming together to help our Jewish family near and far. With our Annual Campaign and endowments on the rise, we’re putting that commitment into action right now and in planning for the Jewish future.

And if you’ve visited us lately, you know that our campus is also growing as the 650,000 sq. ft. Sinai Residences Continuing Care Retirement Community rises on our north acreage. This week, we celebrated not one, but two major milestones in this most significant construction project for our Federation since we broke ground for our original campus almost 26 years ago.

On Tuesday, we marked Sinai Residences of Boca Raton having reached its highest elevation with a “Topping Off” ceremony, joined by about 100 Jewish community and project leaders. While “Topping Off” usually includes only those working with construction, this project’s great impact for our Jewish community clearly deserved a wider celebration. Together, we watched a towering crane lift, to the very top of the building, a platform with a palm tree flanked by American and Israeli flags. We heard from project leaders, and local rabbis offered a d’var Torah and appropriate blessings.

At “Topping Off”, we also celebrated that all 237 independent living apartments at Sinai are already fully reserved, and there is a waiting list! That’s our version of “sold out” – well before our 450 new neighbors move in to share our vibrant, multigenerational Jewish campus.

But, with Sinai Residences, we’re not just meeting a local Jewish senior housing need with the most state-of-the-art, luxurious senior living residence in the country. Sinai Residences is already generating significant revenues to help carry out our Federation’s vital mission now and far into the future. Through careful planning and due diligence that began eight years ago, we’re using 35 acres of vacant land from Federation’s earlier investment for the well-being and future of our Jewish family.

Even as we celebrated and looked ahead to our campus’ bright future on Tuesday, our attention was turned toward critical national and international issues as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a highly publicized and contested address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

While there has been much discourse in our community and in the new and old media about the propriety of the Prime Minister’s speech, his message was a critical one. It is imperative that all civilized nations stand together to insist on a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and that any deal which leaves the Ayatollahs with the capacity to develop nuclear weapons is dangerous to Israel and other allies in the region. Particularly as someone who spent a quarter century advocating for Iran sanctions as an AIPAC professional before coming to the Federation, I am heartened to once again see a prominent national conversation about the threat of a nuclear Iran.

On a final note, I salute our South Palm Beach County friends and neighbors who journeyed to Washington for the annual AIPAC Policy Conference. Their lobbying efforts around the issue of Iran’s nuclear program continue to keep this issue on the front burner for our nation’s policy-makers.

As always, I look forward to reading your thoughts on continuing to build and strengthen our community at asktheceo@bocafed.org.

B'shalom,

Matthew Levin
President & CEO