By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Once a year, in a custom dating back to the days of Abraham Lincoln, Americans set aside a day to give thanks in the company of family and friends. Thanksgiving is a day that I always look forward to, because it’s a day of coming home, both literally and figuratively, and entering a space to reflect on the permanent things that make for a rich and fulfilling life.
One of those permanent things is community. When I think about all that has taken place in Jewish Puget Sound over the past year, I am deeply grateful for the commitment that so many of you have for making our region a vibrant magnet of Jewish life. I am filled with gratitude for the dedication of my lay and professional colleagues at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and our peers at the many other wonderful Jewish organizations that deliver important programs and services day in and day out. And, I am so thankful and inspired by the generous Federation donors who are our indispensable partners in service locally and around the world.
Over the course of this year, we have seen heartening signs that our work to build a more cohesive community is making a difference. In confronting the increase in antisemitism, we have worked collectively in many ways. We joined in shared learning about steps we can take to make ourselves more secure. We worked collaboratively on the Puget Sound Jewish Community Statement on Antisemitism that nearly four dozen Jewish organizations across the spectrum of communal diversity signed to create broader awareness and enlist elected and civic leaders as allies. We raised our voices in Olympia in partnership and coalition to enact strong legislation to combat antisemitism, hate crimes, and bias.
Greater cohesiveness is opening up more avenues for engaging Jewishly, through opportunities for learning, service, and gatherings that build vibrant micro-communities. There have been many special moments over the past year. Young people gaining new skills and knowledge at the Teen Israel Leadership Institute (TILI). Graduates of the Advanced Leadership Development Program generating bright ideas for strengthening Jewish life. Couples and families finding connections through Honeymoon Israel, Reset & Refresh, and the PJ Library®. The learnings about Israel that we gained hearing from renowned thought leaders — educators from the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, journalists J.J. Goldberg and Jonathan Tobin, and Ambassador Dennis Ross.
There are so many other examples of collective effort working its magic. For all of these accomplishments and more, I am thankful because we are deepening the sense of connection and relationships on which ensuring Jewish continuity depends. These and other impacts are your impacts, the fruit of your caring, your commitment to Jewish values and Jewish life, and your generosity. You are the spark that turns good ideas into powerful impact. Thank you for all that you do!
On behalf of all of us at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, I wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe Thanksgiving.