Dear Valued Partners,
We, at UJA’s Israel Engagement, are pleased to be sending you the first of our quarterly newsletters. We see this newsletter as a place to share some of the exciting accomplishments of Israel Engagement, to highlight and honour the deep collaboration, integration and partnership that goes intro bringing intentional and ongoing Israel Engagement to our community, and a space in which to share with you our vision and strategies as we continue to grow as a central department within UJA.
Whether you are reading this newsletter as an institutional partner- lay or professional- a host family, a Diller family or someone who has been touched by our unique approach to engagement, each of you has played a role as part of our community and in our important work. And we are most grateful.
By now I hope most of you have met our expanded team, each of our professionals, responsible for a specific piece of the IE pie brings their own talents, expertise and experiences. Together they also weave the fabric of a vibrant, diverse and educationally provocative collective of professionals. I am grateful to each of them for what they bring to the work each and every day.
I am also grateful to our team of dedicated volunteers, too many to name. I would, however, be remiss if I did not single out Adam Joseph, a man whose dedication, vision and compassion know no end. I continue to seek his counsel and value his friendship as he transitions into his new role as Immediate Past Chair. Which brings me to Robyn Buchman, our new IE Chair. Her journey to this role is a true story of Israel Engagement and the impact that our programming has on individuals and families. Robyn’s dedication, strategic vision and new ideas have already propelled us towards our bright future. Thank you.
Speaking of bright futures, with the Hanukkah season upon us there are so many icons, images and lessons from Hanukkah from which we could draw upon. In thinking of a kernel of the legendary story, I find myself reflecting on the Maccabees and the communal “rising up”, the galvanizing of a community and the idea of working towards a shared goal. Not only am I proud to be the Director of Israel Engagement, but I am also proud to be a professional within UJA. UJA, if you will, is the embodiment of the Maccabees, a galvanizing, centralizing force that allows us to work towards a shared goal. That goal that brings us together is Israel Engagement. Only UJA has the leverage to propel a community the size of Toronto towards the creation and evaluation of ongoing, meaningful relationships with Israel and Israelis… in partnership with all of you!
As you enter the holiday season and think about what is important in your life, what you value and hold dear, we hope that you also think about Israel and some of those special people you have met through our shared work.
Wishing you and your families all the best,