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It has been four years since many of us lost our dear friend, Ilia Salita (z”l), and one year since we launched Global Jewry in his memory.

Looking back on the last 12 months, I think Ilia would be pleased with what we have achieved under the most extraordinary of circumstances. He would tell us we have made good progress, gently suggest how we may have wanted to approach a few things differently, and carefully point out both opportunities and obstacles in the road ahead. We miss his kindness, vision and leadership every day, and his memory inspires and motivates us to stay the course regardless of the headwinds we encounter.

As a Jewish organization, it is fitting that we are taking a moment to celebrate a year of accomplishment even as we mourn Ilia and struggle with the difficult days in which we are living right now. Our tradition teaches that it is important to maintain a balance between acknowledging sorrow and expressing joy. That is why we break glass at our weddings and pause shiva practices to observe Shabbat.

Thanks to the support and assistance of too many friends, family and colleagues to mention individually, Global Jewry has evolved from an idea into a diverse collective of more than 650 advisors and 250 Jewish organizations representing all parts of the Jewish world. With their assistance, we are making introductions, building relationships, and amplifying the work of our partners, all three of which are key to breaking down silos and nourishing the Jewish ecosystem. We are also working hard to maximize the contributions our partners are making to the Jewish people, individually and collectively. By broadening each other’s reach, we are strengthening the fabric of the global Jewish community at a moment when Israel is under attack and antisemitism is surging.

While neither of those issues were at the forefront of our minds when we launched Global Jewry, October 7th and the hatred it unleashed have made our mission of fostering Jewish unity more important today than at any time since the Holocaust. Ensuring a vibrant Jewish future demands that our people join together with unprecedented passion and commitment to fight the external forces seeking to eliminate us and to heal the internal divisions capable of tearing us apart. We have no choice but to find new ways to connect, create and collaborate, the mission of Global Jewry from its very beginning.

We greatly appreciate all who have helped us reach this milestone – especially our remarkable consultants and steadfast volunteers — and we look forward to receiving assistance from even more amazing people as we shift into our implementation phase. Please join us on this critical journey. Our togetherness has never been more important and we cannot succeed without you.

May this be the week the hostages return home,

Sandy

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