Lastly, CJDS friend and supporter, Michael Zaransky, the outgoing chairman of the JUF/Federation Board of Directors, passed the gavel and installed the new incoming chair, Andrew (Andy) Hochberg, who is also a longtime friend and contributor to CJDS. We take this opportunity to thank Michael for his work as chairman. We also welcome Andy as he accepts this important leadership position, which serves our Jewish community and Israel in the present, as well as our collective Jewish future. It’s a daunting responsibility to be the JUF Board chairman when you think about it, and we thank Michael, Andy, and of course Steve, for taking on their important roles and leading our efforts as a community in this sacred work.
Please enjoy reading Steve’s words below and wishing everyone a G’mar Hatima Tova.
Shabbat Shalom and G'mar Hatima Tova,
Ms. J (Judy)
Excerpt from Dr. Steven B. Nasatir's State of the Federation Address
“Before I wrap up I want to speak directly to the wonderful young students here with us today. You have been politely listening to a litany of facts and figures and a veritable alphabet soup of programs – and much of that is hard to remember. What I hope does come through is your Federation’s focus is on YOU! Your community is making these investments because we believe in YOU– and we are counting on you to help lead us into the future.
So, between now and Yom Kippur, here are three serious takeaways for you to think about.
First, cherish your heritage. As Jewish Day School students you maintain a daily connection to Torah and a 3000-year old tradition. Never lose that connection. We know your Generation is likely to be the most secular generation in American history. It will require a special kind of commitment and courage to hold dearly to your Jewish identity.
My generation implores you to keep your identity top of mind and close to your heart and to embrace the privilege of passing it on to your children.
Second, as Senator John McCain told us in his farewell letter, “believe always in the promise and greatness of America.” Your generation needs to be a catalyst for political change – change in the toxic quality of today’s political climate. Our great country faces a political divide that feels unprecedented in modern history. The lack of civility, the demonization of the other and the lack of bipartisan action to get things done must stop. As you develop your own political views we urge you not to think of yourselves exclusively as Republicans or Democrats, Liberals or Conservatives, but as Americans. Build bridges and bring people together. We are counting on you to develop greater unity in America.
Finally, we are counting on you to connect with Israel with all your heart and all your might.
Your generation has never known a world free from terror, yet you have also never known a world without a Jewish state. Do not take Israel for granted. Be vigilant in calling out anti-Semitism – but also listen to those with valid but loving criticisms of our Jewish state. Just like our relationship with our own country, you can love Israel without loving every government policy and it’s okay to question a government policy as long as you do so with love and perspective.
Dare to fight to make us better – as Jews, as Americans and as lovers of Israel.
Dare to hope. Dare to dialogue. Dare to dream.
My generation will be watching, and we know you will make us proud.”