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Shalom from Israel

I’m writing to you today from Israel — with some personal reflections. This has been a momentous week as Israel celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem.

Fifty years ago this week, as I was looking forward to my 10th birthday, I saw my grandfather with tears in his eyes. He told me the story of Israel as if he witnessed every moment. Unfortunately, my grandfather, a man whose family escaped the pogroms in Russia, never saw Jerusalem with his own eyes.

I spent my first summer in Israel in 1972 and returned home to see him in the hospital during his last days. I sat by his bed every day for a week. He wanted me to recount every moment so he could experience his Israel through my eyes before he took his last breath.

I have spent countless days in Israel since. I have been here during Israel’s most trying times and been here to celebrate many simchas including my daughter’s bat mitzvah. I have been honored to have spent time with many of Israel’s greatest leaders, from Ben Gurion to Rabin, Sharon and Peres.

I live in Los Angeles, but Israel is my homeland — our homeland.

As the President of Jewish Federation Los Angeles, I am proud of the powerful role we have played in Israel from 1948 until today. I have written to you about our dynamic partnerships with the Israel Trauma Coalition, Unistream, the Jewish Agency and the JDC.

Together, we continue to make a difference.

I know my grandfather is smiling down on all of us.


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