This week’s parsha (Torah portion) is Emor, which discusses laws pertaining to priests and sacrifices, and the festivals of the Jewish year. While celebration of Jewish festivals continues to this day, we have added new holidays, changed some of the rituals we observe, and no longer practice ritual sacrifice. What stands out to me, however, is the continued importance of celebrating in community, together with family, friends, and neighbors, and how much of our lives may still revolve around our personal practice and rituals, both Jewish and secular.
In the United States, May is Jewish American Heritage Month (as well as AAPI Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month). We’re proud to participate through Jewish Federations of North America along with many other national Jewish organizations. You can read more here, and there are many ways that we can educate ourselves and others about the importance of recognizing and celebrating our unique heritage and the impact on our personal lives.
As I mentioned last week, we are thrilled to once again join together with our network of Jewish Federations of North America to invite local Jewish adults ages 20-25 to apply for the Jewish Changemakers Fellowship. Over the course of a six-week online training, participants will meet inspiring professionals and peers in a fellowship designed to expand their network, hone their leadership skills, and jumpstart their career. They will leave with a clear path to making a difference in their community. The Spring session runs from Monday, May 15-Friday, June 23. For more information, visit jewishchangemakers.org.
I hope you will join us on Sundays at 7pm May 14 or 2pm June 4 for a special LIVE reading of original works from The Braid’s emerging artists, performed by professional actors. For information about more upcoming events and opportunities, check out our Community Calendar!
Updates and reminders from our national network:
Jewish Federations support a wealth of vital services and programming year in and year out that saves and improves lives and builds flourishing Jewish communities, enabling our partners to respond nimbly and effectively during a crisis. See the impact of your dollars in Israel and around the world this past year.
Earlier this week, Jewish Federations reported on the recent uptick in violence in Israel with 104 rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli civilian targets in the country’s south. As of Wednesday morning, a ceasefire is holding. We continue to closely monitor the situation and will update as needed. Read more here.
Also this week, Jewish Federations announced our partnership with the JCC Association of North America and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) in an innovative, collaborative initiative, called Project-412, set to transform the field of early childhood Jewish education (ECJE). Learn more here.
On March 29, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the son of Jewish refugees who escaped the Soviet Union, was arrested by Russian security services and charged with espionage. Join us on Monday, May 8 from 1 to 2 pm ET, as we rally the community in support and launch a communal sign-on letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to let him know that the Jewish community stands with Evan. Speakers will include Senator Bob Menendez of Evan’s home state of New Jersey, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Paul Beckett, Washington Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, and Federation leaders from our New Jersey communities. Click here to register.