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June-July 2023

Our Community News

Here’s some news I’m happy to share. Last month, with the support of my board, I renewed my term as Executive Director of the Federation for another three years.

I’ve learned a great deal during the past three years. And I can’t wait to create the future and to see what we can accomplish together in the next three years.

Camp Ideal runs from June 12- July 28, and we have so many amazing things in store for our campers! But, to make it even more special, we need your help. Part of our daily programming is often “workshop” hours, where we invite community members to come in to share a skill or hobby with our campers.

Many things as individuals keep us from seeing each other. However, on Sunday, May 14, community members gathered together at the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley to celebrate Mother’s Day and to share the beautiful spring day as a community.

On Thursday evening May 11th, our son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren who live in Rehovot, Israel were trying to navigate one of the dilemmas of life in Israel: how to find normalcy in an often-abnormal situation.

Those who have been to the Federation in the last year or two will surely have noticed our effort to revitalize and beautify our campus. Clean, fresh landscaping and fighting back the overgrowth and weeds have brought beauty back to our campus. We now have turned our attention to the Federation building.

When Temple Beth-El recently sold its 73-year-old cherished home, it felt like one more bittersweet chapter of Diaspora in the history of the Jewish people: the 118-year-old Temple congregation had to leave behind yet another Anatevka and find its next shtetl “somewhere else.” At least for the sculptures, that somewhere else is now firmly planted in the warm and welcoming embrace of the Jewish Federation.

As many of you know, I recently attended the Israel at 75 General Assembly (GA). I also visited my mom and four siblings in Israel. There were many memorable highlights of my visit, including the precious family time I had celebrating a joint birthday with my mom, who is 95 years young.

As World War II drew to a close, South Bend and Mishawaka Jewish leaders organized to address various common concerns. The Jewish Community Council was born at a time of death and rebirth for world Jewry. The murder of 6 million European Jews by Nazi Germany during WWII and the imminent birth of the State of Israel as the Jewish National Home.

Pirkei Avot teaches that one should “calculate the cost of a mitzvah (commandment) against its reward, and the reward of a sin and its cost.” Buying matzah for Pesach or a lulav for Sukkot will cost me extra money but will bring me closer to Hashem. In today’s language this calculation is termed a “cost-benefit analysis.”

We are beyond excited to announce that The Liberal Jewish Fellowship will be forging a partnership with The Ark Synagogue in Northwood, UK, one of the largest, most vibrant, and most influential Progressive congregations in England. This will give us access to an extraordinary array of virtual programming.

One berry, two berries, pick me a blueberry! Blueberry season is almost upon us here, in Michiana, and I would be remiss as a food columnist if I didn’t share at least one recipe that enthusiastically bursts with their sweet, juicy, blueberry deliciousness!

We added a few books to the list, unable to resist Spare, by Prince Harry, even though we all know it’s ghostwritten. Speaking of ghosts, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a novel mostly told by a ghost’s point of view.

BBYO is celebrating its 100th anniversary! In anticipation of the celebration, the Michiana Jewish Historical Society and the Jewish Federation are planning a kick-off on Sunday, August 20, 2023 from 3-5 at Jewish Federation with snacks and a discussion of how we can plan for a full-blown reunion in Summer 2024! Slideshow? Singing? Softball?

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