By Liraz Levi, Community Shaliach
In mid-November I had the chance to take part in the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, held in Washington, D.C. This year The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) collaborated with JFNA on the event, as our annual JAFI Shlichim conference took place at the GA, and kept going after it was done, for the rest of the week!
It was such a privilege to participate in and experience both the GA and the Shlichim conference. While at the GA I learned about the place of Shaliach in Federation’s world, and how crucial the Israeli human connection is to the work of Federation in a local Jewish community. At the Shlichim conference we focused on networking, getting to know the different Shlichim and getting more tools, formal and informal, to keep working hard with our organizations to channel the love to Israel in creative ways.
Reflecting on my week in D.C., I’m thinking how unique and lucky are we, being exposed to all the Jewish leaders whose common ground is their love for Israel. It reminds me of my Hanukkah celebrations back home with my family. When we’re trying to meet to light the first Hanukkah candle, there’s always a feeling of a chaos while everyone is rushing from one place to another. Imagine how it is with my extended family – when we have more than fifty people who are trying to get together!
As part of our tradition on one of the holiday nights, we have dinner at my grandmother’s house. Dinner is full of oil as is every Hannukah dinner, just that in our dinner, we mostly eat “Al Ha-Esh” (on fire), which means we are having barbecue. The preparations are crazy and everyone’s late. It even became a joke in my family that if we want everyone to get together on time, we have to ask them to come two hours early.
When the food is finally ready and the last people are arriving, we can finally sit down. 50 people together in one room somehow keep quiet for a blessing for my grandfather, who passed away two years ago. To me this moment reflects the true meaning of Hanukkah– all the small candles that together became one huge flame. I wish all of us a great holiday, full of delicious goodies and special moments with our families because together, we are better.
P.S.: Feel free to invite me over for some jelly donuts. I’m a big fan!
Federation’s Community Shaliach program is made possible by our generous donors who give to the Annual Campaign. Thank you!