It is with great pride that I share two stories from this week, both related to Purim, which we celebrate next week. I hope you will be as inspired as I was not only by the thoughtfulness of the students involved but in how far their hard work goes in building a living bridge between people.
In one case, a discussion about the meaning of Purim, presented by a local high school student, linked several generations across a board room table. The other story here required miles of travel! Both so clearly illustrate how Federation brings Jewish ideas to life and puts our Jewish values of opening our hearts to others into action.
Thank you for being a part of such a wonderful, giving community.
Thank You Greater Hartford for the Purim Costumes!
Last week, Tal and Naomi, two Israeli high school graduates who live and work with Jewish students in Greater Hartford as part of the Federation's Young Emissary program brought 120 costumes to children in our sister region of Afula Gilboa. The kids can now wear them for Purim next week! "Programs like this one are called Living Bridge projects because they are a way for students here to make a personal connection to Israel," explains Ronny Siegel, Young Emissary Coordinator for Greater Hartford. Every child at a local school and at the Beit Alfa absorption center for Ethiopian immigrants got a costume. "I will never forget the huge smiles on their faces. They really were excited."
The Meaning of Purim
It has become a Federation Board of Directors' tradition to ask a student from one of our Jewish Day schools to present a Dvar Torah at each meeting. This week Nathan Schachter, a senior at Hebrew High School of New England and a board member of the Mandell JCC, shared his thoughts on the meaning of Purim. He explained that Purim is about the importance of opening our hearts to others and noted that with Esther's leadership, the Jews united against Haman. Relating the story of Purim to the mission of Federation, Nathan wrote:
"In my young lifetime, I have partaken in many acts of chesed and service to my community and elsewhere. I am blessed to be a part of the greater West Hartford Jewish community, where we all act as a whole and each individual feels like a part of a big family. Where else can you find such an inclusive and supportive community? This has taught me that, quite often, giving can bring a person as much nachas as receiving. Purim is meant to be a joyous and special day for all Jews; it is vital that we remember to spread the simcha and do our part to help those in need and bring all of the Jewish people closer together, just as the Federation has done for our community."
Wishing all of you and your families a peaceful Shabbat and a joyous Purim.
President and CEO