Today I join the more than 130 employees who dedicate themselves to support a kind, protected, and flourishing Jewish community here in Los Angeles and Israel. Since I came on board two months ago, I’ve had nearly 90 individual conversations with staff, leaders, and stakeholders and attended more than 20 events. I’d like to share with you some of what I have learned.
First, I want to thank the team members and stakeholders for their choice to work for the Jewish people. I learned of their passions and creativity that they bring to this work every day to feed the hungry, shelter the vulnerable, enliven Jewish lives, and create pride in our tradition by standing up to antisemitism. I received only the warmest of welcomes from them and am eager to bring my skills to augment the already incredible team.
I also learned about the challenges facing our community — from the fear of antisemitism and the concern of engaging the next generation to bridging the divides that seem to separate us. These challenges are deep and abiding, but The Jewish Federation will rise to these challenges as we have for more than a century.
We all speak about wanting a better future. Our prophets dreamed of it, our bards sing of it, and our politicians pontificate about it. All of them lift up the notion that “one day” the world will be better, but the truth is, it is up to us to seize that future. The future belongs to those who create it, not those who simply find themselves in it.
Rather than thinking in terms of “one day,” I invite you to think of this moment as I do, as “day one” — day one of working towards a more prosperous and flourishing Jewish community together.
Thank you for being on this journey — and now, let’s get to work.
Rabbi Noah Farkas
President & CEO