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In less than two weeks, the new year will be upon us. For some, 2023 has flown by. For others, 2024 cannot come too soon. And then there are those who feel like they have so much to accomplish before the end of the year that they simply do not have the time to be reflective right now.

For Global Jewry, it’s all of the above.

On one hand, it feels like yesterday that we started recruiting people and organizations to join us in strengthening the bonds that unite the Jewish people. “Friendraising” is every bit as intensive a process as fundraising, and it never feels like there are enough hours in the day to do it successfully.

On the other hand, the war with Hamas weighs heavily on all of us. Each day that the hostages remain in captivity and the fighting continues feels like an eternity, and we cannot wait until the hostages are home safely, the fighting has ended and the misery has subsided.

And, regardless of how we are feeling at any moment, our effort to bring greater togetherness to the Jewish family continues and we have much to do in these last few days of the year as we continue to build on what we have accomplished in just 6 months.

Which, by the way, we could not have achieved without the help of our wonderful consultants, Brina Chu and Alon Futterman. They have been outstanding colleagues who have contributed mightily even as they had much more on their plates than Global Jewry.

Brina is a full-time Social Work graduate student who has juggled school, work and family like a Cirque de Soleil performer. We cannot thank her enough, and we look forward to working with Brina in her current role at Global Jewry in 2024.

Alon’s story is also one of commitment during difficulty, a reality faced by far too many Israelis since October 7th. He is a devoted son who had to move his parents out of harm’s way in the south of Israel, a loving father who is helping his wife and children cope with the harrowing situation all Israelis are experiencing, and he spends many nights on guard duty helping to protect his kibbutz from intruders.

And, dayenu, Alon recently agreed to become the executive director of the Kfar Azza Foundation so he can use his expertise to help heal the deep wounds that community has felt — including the loss of two hostages in the friendly fire catastrophe — and to help it rebuild.

We could not be more proud of Alon, and are deeply appreciative of all he has contributed to Global Jewry. We wish him the best in his new role, and we look forward to his continued involvement at Global Jewry as a member of our advisory board and, ideally, in other ways as his time may permit.

Richard and I also want to thank our planning team co-leaders for their help. All of them are distinguished individuals with lots of other demanding responsibilities, and yet they found the time to provide us with invaluable advice on a range of important issues.

Our thanks also goes out to all of you for coming along with us in this important journey. Your involvement has given us support, strength and validation every step of the way, and we cannot wait to work closely with you in 2024 to help Global Jewry achieve its full potential.

To that end, we’ll be sharing some specific thoughts about how you can be most helpful when we reach out to you next week in the final GJ Connections of the year.

Shabbat shalom,


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