After a very busy month in the position of Interim CEO, I would like to take a breath, step back, and share with all of you some of what I have taken away from my experience so far. We are all heartbroken to learn that Michael Jeser has made the decision, with his family, to decline further medical treatment and focus, in his words, on “living the life I have left the way I want to live.” We all hold Michael, Laura and Eleanore in our thoughts. I continue to be so deeply impressed by, and grateful for, all that Michael has done for our community, and I continue to be inspired by how many people he has personally impacted in so many positive ways.
I feel Michael’s impact and energy here in everything we do. While I have served Federation as a consultant over a number of years, the view from inside has given me a much more in-depth understanding of the scope and range of our work and the passion and commitment of our staff and lay leaders.
For Federation staff, this is not just a job. And for our lay leaders, Federation’s work is more than just one in a long list of obligations. For all of us it is bigger and more personal than that. This is our community; Jews, and particularly seniors and survivors, struggling in or near poverty matter to us and supporting them in this post-COVID environment is a mitzvah in the truest sense of the word. So many of us have developed close personal relationships with friends and colleagues in Sha’ar HaNegev. We care about our partner region and are committed to helping them recover – and thrive -- after another conflict has again damaged and re-traumatized the region. Federation is also laser-focused on the safety and security of our Jewish institutions, especially at this moment in which antisemitism is increasing sharply; many of our own families regularly walk through their doors. And we invest in leadership because we want our own children and grandchildren to enjoy a rich and vibrant Jewish experience here in San Diego in a way that is deeply meaningful to them, even if that looks different to them than it does to us.
And of course, none of this would be possible without your financial support. I have learned so much in such a short time about the powerful commitment of our donors, who are deeply invested in our work, who pay attention, who take the time to call and write and question and debate and engage on everything we do. Thank you all so very much! We simply could not accomplish our mission without you.
We have dedicated this issue of eNews to demonstrating our collective impact. I hope you feel inspired by all that you power when you give to Federation. As we get ready to close out our fiscal year, we ask that you consider making a gift if you have not yet done so. Or, if you have already given, please consider increasing your gift. Your support will help us continue to build momentum as we strengthen our partnerships and expand our impact.
There is so much more for us to do together, and I feel deeply privileged to be a part of this team. Shabbat Shalom!