Not all of us are able or ready to take advantage of the beauty and richness of our Jewish heritage and its traditions. We all move at our own pace, follow our unique inner voices and seek meaning in ways that we alone can own. This week's Torah portion, B'haalot'cha, asks the question, What happens when we are not able to participate or fulfill important rituals as expected?
We read about the Passover sacrifice that is to be offered at a specific time and place. With amazing insight, the Torah asks what happens when people cannot offer their sacrifices because they are unable to reach the Temple or do not meet the required standards of purity due to contact with a dead body. Recognizing the importance of participation, a Second Passover - Pesach Sheni - is offered a month later to give those not able to participate on time a second chance.
In many ways, my time at Federation has given me a second chance to connect to my Jewish community in Connecticut, reconnect with Israel (which I had not visited in over 40 years) and reaffirm my commitment to Jewish values - which have always been the lens through which I view the world.
Along with the team of incredible staff who work at the Federation, teams of dedicated volunteers and our partner agencies, schools and synagogues, we have continued the great work that preceded us and created new ways for people to engage Jewishly.
As my time at the Federation comes to an end, I want to say how proud I am to have had the opportunity to be part of this wonderful and powerful movement. Together we change lives, we change communities and we change the world. This is what Federation is all about.
As with this week's Torah portion, our Federation wants to make sure that anyone who wants to be part of the Jewish community has multiple opportunities and paths to do so. It is a monumental goal that we may not completely fulfill, but we are certainly on our way. With your help, we can broaden our reach, create more opportunities, and break down more barriers. Pesach Sheni does not have to be limited to Passover. There are so many ways to open doors and include others. Lend a hand, offer to take someone along to services or to an event. Open your hearts to those in need. It feels wonderful.
Thank you for the support, encouragement and friendship you have shown me over these past five years. And thank you for all you do to help our Jewish community grow and thrive.
President and CEO
Photo caption: Howard Sovronsky and friends take a nighttime bike ride on a Federation Men's Mission to Israel.