I have just completed my first two months as executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. They have been interesting – with racial slurs and swastikas painted on the walls of a local school, an anti-Semitic flier distributed to homes within a mile of the Valley of the Sun JCC and the rash of bomb threats to JCCs and other Jewish organizations nationwide. Needless to say, I was shocked that we are seeing this type of anti-Semitic rancor right here in the Valley only a few generations after the liberation of concentration camps that ended the Holocaust. However, my faith in mankind was strengthened when I received the following email from a new friend, Jesse Winters, who has given me permission to share parts of it with you:
As a member of the non-Jewish community, I am writing you to affirm that we feel saddened and appalled by the recent senseless acts of violence and hate crimes.
Through education, and with great effort and intent, I hope that we will someday rise above the petty differences that separate us, and that our children can live in a world where we can truly coexist in peace and prosperity.
All the best to your friends, family, and loved ones in these trying times.
These incidences, as well as the warm and supportive responses from Jesse, our community, donors and collaborative partners, highlight the importance of having a strong Jewish Federation in our community.
The Federation exists to strengthen Jewish life and identity and to provide for Jews in need here in the Valley, in Israel and around the world, wherever Jews reside. We are impacting lives through our local strategic partners: Bureau of Jewish Education, East Valley JCC, Gesher Disability Resources (formerly Council for Jews with Special Needs), Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Hillel at ASU, Valley Beit Midrash, Valley of the Sun JCC, new community partner Jewish Free Loan and our overseas partners the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Together, we choose love over hate and tolerance over ignorance. Together, we are stronger.
Marty Haberer is the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.