Grandma was a bad cook. It’s true. My beloved Grandma Hannah was known for many things - creativity, generosity, kind spirit and beauty. Cooking, not so much. Grandma was both an innovator and a health nut. Not a good combination in the kitchen. Recipe measurements were treated as suggestions. Matzah balls were made with egg whites and no oil. Cookies with bananas instead of sugar. I will never forget the Thanksgiving when tomato juice was the first course. (We still laugh about that one.)
Despite Grandma’s reputation for poor culinary skills, we still looked forward to shabbat dinner or a Sunday night gathering around her table. Why? Because dinner was more than the food, it was being in a place where you knew you were loved, where you were supported, where you learned about the world and enjoyed one another. Those are the things that nourished us all.
As I think of the new path for our Jewish Federation, I feel much like my grandmother. I can’t help but ask, “Is this choice good for the health of the community?” Or “Is this a meaningful direction that will bring the community together in an enjoyable, welcoming way?”
I want you to know that I am setting the table for this community and everyone has a seat. There will be challenges, but the good will of this community will endure. Through educational and cultural programming we will continue to learn and grow together. The important work of Jewish Family Service will support our neighbors in need. Our allocations will maintain this community’s vital organizations. The Federation, with your support, will continue to have a healthy, meaningful bounty where all are welcomed and appreciated.