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July 2022

Our Community News

Recently, I’ve talked about planting seeds. The symbolism is important. Seeds sprout seedlings. Seedlings grow into trees. Trees become forests. And forests form habitat for other life.

Woodlands are strong because thousands of tree roots intertwine and overlap. When a mature tree falls, there are hundreds of others to take its place.

The formation of groups make trees stronger than any individual tree exposed in a field. It’s this grouping that nurtures other life in their community, and this is true for our Jewish community as well.

During our recent Flea Market, I was having a conversation with one of our vendors about Social Security. I asked her what she expected to receive. The response was “About 75% of my average paycheck.” When I told her that it was only 40% of the average amount over her working years, she was taken aback. But indeed, that is the case, as printed on the form from the Social Security office.

Last week, I was walking the trails of the woods behind the Federation, helping Dan get ready for camp, when I picked a white head of what was once a dandelion. In Israel, this white-headed flower has been given the nickname ‘Saba’ [Grandpa], and kids make a wish before they blow on its seeds. This moment of anticipation for the summer made me realize, it has been a year since I began my work here.

Shirlee, my co-worker, and co-lifer, shared her article with me about the past year we have spent working with the Federation and the growth we have seen since. One place of growth that I am proud to write about this month is our youth leadership programs. SaBaBaH has been around since I was a kid, and at 12 members strong, I already see the potential these young people have in our community or any Jewish community they find themselves in one day. Some of these teens are now staff members at Camp Ideal. Another just finished their Eagle Scout project by blazing a new trail in the forest and building benches for the community to enjoy our little slice of nature.

Living next to the University of Notre Dame, we often take for granted the many amazing academic resources it provides, not only for its students, but for the wider Michiana community. Yet, how many of us knew that amongst the faculty of this very Catholic academic institution are not one or two, but three professors offering courses in Jewish studies in the Department of Theology?

This month I am writing about something controversial. (How’s that for an opening sentence?) If you are wondering how a recipe column can be controversial, just bear with me and you will see. This month’s featured recipe is an amazing recipe for chummus.

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