Thank you, Thank you very much…

You may have noticed that sometimes my message titles have pop culture references. Today I am referencing, of course, Elvis Presley. I reference him because even though he was omnipresent while he was alive and a fixture in popular music, his influence still remains, in many ways still informing our popular culture - even with that phrase I used as a title. We often don’t think of influences and influencers until they are pointed out to us.

And now for the not-quite-direct segue…

While Elvis may have influenced fashion, music, even hairstyles, we have people who influence us and our lives much closer to home, and who have the capacity on a day to day basis to have an extraordinary impact.

I’m thinking about leaders in Rockland’s Jewish community.

  • The Rabbis who counsel congregants on how to deal with our changed reality since October 7th even as they grapple with it themselves;
  • The agency CEOs and Executive Directors who have had to revise, create and respond with new programming or resources over the last six months;
  • The volunteer leaders and Board members of organizations and institutions in our community who have given more of their time, energy and resources than they ever contemplated;
  • And the truly dedicated staff of our community organizations, including our team here at Federation, who have gone and continue to go above and beyond to meet new challenges while maintaining essential programs and services.

These ‘klei kodesh’ literally ‘holy vessels’ in the classic Jewish description, deserve our gratitude not only for their commitment to making our living, breathing community better everyday, but also for the consolation, consideration, and inspiration that they provide for us as we navigate our way through this changed world.

So to all of these heroes, I say, with due respect to Elvis but in an entirely sincere and serious context: Thank you all.

Thank you very much.