Home Federation Ten wishes for the year ahead

Ten wishes for the year ahead


By Daniel Staffenberg, CEO, Jewish Community Federation of Richmond

1. That all the Hostages held in Gaza return home safely and securely and peace returns to Israel and Gaza!

2. That our community capitalizes on the unity of the past two months and builds forward knowing and understanding that only when we work together, support each other, and lift each other up, will we truly thrive as Jews!

3. I wish that in 2024 we live more closely to the ideals of “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh la zeh – All Jews are responsible for one another” – a Talmudic phrase most often used as a call to action and a symbol of the responsibility we should feel for the well-being of others.

It is also a sign of unity and strength, and it reminds us that we are never truly alone in our struggles.

As we flip the page on another year, let us reinvest in each other, put down our devices, and find strength in conversations, both joyous and difficult.

4. That our Annual Community Campaign – Federation’s single most important vehicle for securing the welfare and vitality of the Jewish community, locally, globally and in Israel – continues to grow and strengthen.

We have seen firsthand that a strong Annual Campaign assures a vibrant Jewish present and future, providing services and programs to our most vulnerable members and creating opportunities for Jewish identity-building, education and growth.

May those who joined us for the first time in support of Israel, continue to support our community for generations to come.

5. That we all find time to relax and reconnect.

6. May we each celebrate a few more Shabbats this year! Invite someone new to Richmond or new to us to sit around our table.

7. Read more with our children. If our ultimate responsibility as Jews is to make the world a better place, we look to our children to make sure there always will be a strong Jewish community to care for those in need.

Joyful Jewish experiences ignite a child’s Jewish soul, their values of caring, their love for community – each child’s own way of being Jewish.

These experiences enable them to learn about their heritage, embrace their identity, make lasting bonds with Jewish peers, and develop a world view built on values of caring.

Joyful, meaningful, and empowering Jewish experiences come in many forms for every stage of a young person’s life and the Jewish Federation is committed to supporting them.

Sign up for PJ Library today and help light the way for our children. Visit PJLibrary.org to sign up today!

8. To strengthen our pursuit of learning, let’s read a book, listen to a podcast, or read an article each month on a Jewish subject we are unfamiliar with.

In doing so we may, in a small way, understand our fellow Jews better without making assumptions about them.

9. Resolve to build more kindness into your daily life. Sincerely compliment someone each day.

Be compassionate for a person’s situation and give them a pass if they seem rude. Hide notes of encouragement in your spouse’s pocketbook, briefcase or children’s lunch boxes.

At dinner, talk about kindness with your family and friends. Ask, “What act of kindness did you do today? What kind act did someone do for you?” Volunteer to be of service, but get to know the challenges faced by those you help and help them in a way that preserves their dignity.

10. I wish that you share your wishes, thoughts and dreams with me as we begin 2024.

Send them along to us at Daniel@Jewishrichmond.org.