I grew up in a family that was committed to the Jewish community, so as I entered my teen years, my own involvement was a given. Through active involvement in USY, I attended the organization’s Israel Pilgrimage at the age of 16. It was a life-changer. As I stood at the Kotel for the first time, I reached up and outward as both hands settled on jutting stones. Suddenly, and unexpectedly, I was flooded with emotion. I thought of Jews, present and past, in various parts of the world who could not be where I was; I thought of my parents who had not yet been to Haaretz, the land; and I thought of my people’s historic struggles and perseverance; as I bowed my head, my tears flowed.
Forty-five years later the power of that moment has never left me, the connectivity I felt has never left me, and the obligation to my community, to be involved in our Greater MetroWest Jewish Federation, is with me every day. I have lived my life here, growing up in Cranford and residing in Livingston for the past 25 years. The experiences I’ve had with federation, with my shul — the Synagogue of the Suburban Torah Center — and with my many years of involvement with the Friendship Circle, have enriched my life.
Through the years, our “system” has guided me on my path. I am forever indebted to the always dedicated, inspiring community leaders who have come before me. Knowing that they will be an ever-present resource during my three-year term is a tremendous comfort as I know that I will be continually challenged in my role.
I am so thankful for the combined efforts during the past year of my predecessor Leslie Dannin Rosenthal and our CEO Dov Ben-Shimon. Because of them, I’m hitting the ground running and am eager to move forward. I’m looking forward to expanding on my long-term relationship with our Campaign Chair Ira Steinberg, as we work together to continue to build strong ties with our diverse and wonderful synagogues and our vital community agencies. I plan to work closely with my colleagues Robert Kuchner and Stanley Stone, respectively president and executive director of our Jewish Community Foundation, as together, we find ever more ways to enhance the effectiveness of our combined federation and foundation to help our community donors fulfill their philanthropic needs, and so much more.
Finally, I am looking forward to our October 2018 Greater MetroWest commUNITY Mission as we travel together and celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday. The mission we envision is a huge undertaking and we are so fortunate to have Jane Wilf serving as our mission chair. I am eager to share the powerful experience of being in Israel with so many members of our community — whether it’s their first time in Israel or their 50th.