From Darkness to Light: Federation in Action

Dear Friends, 

Last Saturday, we all followed the attack in Colleyville, fearful of the worst possible ending as we also were reminded of our own local past tragedies. Federation and ADL San Diego were in touch immediately to share updates and discuss potential local warnings.

Federation also was and continues to be in close contact with Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville credited both the ADL and JFNA%u2019s Secure Community Network in part with providing the resources and training that helped save his life and those of his congregants taken hostage. Recognizing the continued need for vital funding for security, JFNA announced $36 million more in grants for local Jewish federations to create their own security infrastructures. JFNA hopes for the $36 million to be matched on a two-to-one basis in local donations, which would bring in an additional $72 million.

In San Diego, we will rise to this occasion to secure as much funding as possible for our community’s safety. In the coming weeks, we’ll be in touch to share more with you about this vital initiative. I also was interviewed by CBS 8 about the security situation in San Diego and how our own Jewish community is responding.

From the darkness of the Colleyville attacks, we moved to the light of a once-in-a-generation Federation CommUNITY trip to Israel in spring 2023. We opened registration for the trip yesterday—and I am so excited because of what this opportunity means and the long-lasting impact this trip will have for our community. Our goal is to have 360 San Diegans traveling together on this amazing trip that will connect us to Israel and to one another in deeply meaningful ways.

Imagine our first day; all of us representing every segment of our community, together in solidarity under our San Diego Banners, walking alongside Israeli musicians and friends down the hill to the Old City, where we will gather for a festive dinner at the foot of the Kotel. We are joined by the Mayor of Jerusalem, the US Ambassador to Israel, and other dignitaries welcoming San Diego.

Or imagine yourself exploring with a small group who want to learn more about co-existence in Israel, or women’s accomplishments, or food and wine, and spending a day together digging into the best that Israel has to offer. Perhaps you are touring a mixed neighborhood in East Jerusalem, or Mea Shearim with a haredi guide, visiting some of the most exciting start-ups in Tel Aviv, or experiencing Jerusalem for the first time..

Consider the impact of a Private reception at the Home of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, followed by a VIP tour and private audience in the Knesset with the speaker of the Knesset along with other leaders from across the political spectrum. Think of how it will feel to arrive on our own chartered train to Sederot where our friends in Sha’ar HaNegev will greet us and welcome us into their community and into their homes. And picture all 360 of us celebrating Lag B’Omer together at Kibbutz Ruchama, with music, dancing, an art fair with local artists and vendors, a (totally safe!) fire extravaganza bonfire and so much more.

These are just a few of the highlights you can expect on the CommUNITY Trip along with 5 star hotels, and extraordinary access to venues, people and programs that you can only get on a Federation trip of this scale. So join co-chairs Caryn and Alan Viterbi, Theresa Dupuis and Gary Kornfeld, and Tamar Caspi, along with old friends and new. Register today!

From darkness to light. From rapid response to planning for the future. These two events reflect the power of Federation, the importance of partnerships, and our unique role as the connective tissue of the community.

Your support makes these efforts possible. Thank you for your trust. May we all have a peaceful and meaningful Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom,
Heidi Gantwerk
President & Chief Executive Officer


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