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In a year already full of too much bad news, this past week was particularly difficult. What we learned on Tuesday about the fate of far too many of the hostages taken by Hamas on October 7th was sickening. I cannot stop thinking about them, their families and the nightmare from which so many are suffering right now. Focusing attention on anything else doesn’t feel right. It feels insensitive and uncaring.

It was under this dark cloud that we convened a mind-mapping session of the Global Jewry planning teams on Wednesday to talk about community and connections. We started by reflecting on the terrible news we received the day before, and mourned those with whom we felt an attachment.

Then, since bringing people together is what Global Jewry is all about, we started exploring ways our initiative can instill a sense of belonging in all the individuals and organizations we hope to reach. We heard many great ideas and received a treasure trove of recommendations about how best to pursue our mission. Our thanks go out to all those who devoted a big part of their Wednesday to us — especially Brina Chu, Alon Futterman, Kari Saratovsky and Zach Weisman — and we look forward to sharing a summary of what we heard with those interested in learning more.

We also unveiled our new website, a much-improved outlet for telling our story and promoting our partners. Please take a look here and let us know what you think. As noted in the ‘What’s Coming Soon” section, we are already working on ways to incorporate user-generated content, search capability and other features to make it as robust and relevant as possible.

To that end, please respond to our recent email about Gather Voices. It is an easy way for you to amplify your own message while helping us generate videos we can post on our new website.

We also hope you will help us think more deeply about the ways Global Jewry may be able to help others build smaller communities even as we work to strengthen our global one. Several people with whom I spoke this week shared some great insights on the topic, and suggested we consider sharing our knowledge about community building and network weaving with others seeking to do the same on a lesser scale. We think that is a great idea, and look forward to adding it to the ever-growing list of resources we hope to make available to our partner organizations and others.

Thanks again to all of you who have helped make the first phase of Global Jewry so successful, and we look forward to your continued support and advice as we move into Phase 2. Please connect us with others you think share our commitment to strengthening the bonds that unite the Jewish people.

May we continue to go from strength to strength, and may this be the week the hostages return home.

Shabbat Shalom,

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