We weren't even a nation yet when the Colonies received a majestic copper bell, cast in London, that would become the icon of our country's independence. Inscribed on this bell are the words that are found in this week's Torah portion, B'har-B'chukotai:
"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants."
As with many Biblical quotes, the translation is not always accurate. The text contains the word d'ror, which in this case is translated as "liberty." A more precise translation, however, is "to release" - as in, to release people from the bonds that prevent them from being free.
Liberty represents our goal, as Americans and as Jews, of eliminating the bonds that restrain us, while freedom refers to our individual right to exercise free will based on our own unique abilities. These two different values are both found in our Torah, and they are intimately connected. Liberty allows us the freedom to exercise choice and pursue our dreams. When we add justice to this mix, we capture the core of our Jewish and American dream: liberty, freedom, and justice for all.
You could say that seeking liberty, freedom and justice through a Jewish lens is what Federation is all about. Federation creates opportunities for you to express your Jewish values in a way that fits your interests and abilities. You can help at-risk students improve their literacy skills through Children's Reading Partners, help a homebound Jewish senior feel less alone by becoming a Caring Community volunteer, or grow nourishing food for people in need at one of Jessie's Community Gardens - to name just a few options.
By working together, we can "proclaim liberty" throughout the land. We can release (d'ror) others from the bonds of illiteracy, loneliness, hunger, and the other ties that bind them and help our neighbors achieve the freedom necessary to pursue their dreams. Federation is here to facilitate this important work - but we need your help to bring it to fruition.
We hope you'll join us.
President and CEO