Wishing you a Meaningful Fast

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Yom Kippur 5776

From the Desk of Stephen H. Hoffman

The Days of Awe, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, are a time of deep personal reflection. Organizationally I take the same responsibility. Is the Federation living up to its stated mission and values? Are we conducting our business in an ethical manner? How are we helping the community in a time of deeply felt differences – on the political front, on the religious front, on foreign and domestic social policies?

We begin such an examination from our fundamental understanding of the principle – Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh – all Israel is responsible, one for another. We seek a unified approach, a collective approach to the challenges facing our people, at home and abroad, challenges both of an individual nature and as a total people. Yet while seeking a unified approach we need to acknowledge and respect our differences – our unity is not dependent on unanimous opinions. It is dependent on unanimous respect and the understanding that despite different perspectives on politics, gender, agency loyalties, religious practice, and issues, we are capable of still coming together to do what unites us – caring for our fellow Jews in need.

Often in politics today we vote against one candidate rather than for them. But in community life we need to stand for the collective desire to be responsible, one for another. We, as a Jewish people, are truly stronger when we are together, when we support each other.

You can read here some examples of the good that happens when we act together.

The Days of Awe are also the time to ask for forgiveness. Our tradition tells us that before we can settle accounts with the Almighty, we first must ask each other for forgiveness. And so, on behalf of the Federation, if we have offended you in the past year, I ask for your forgiveness. We’ll try to do better.

Wishing you a meaningful and easy fast,

Stephen H. Hoffman

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