What a start to 5779!

September 14, 2018

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It was wonderful to see so many of you on Thursday, September 6, as our community came together to launch our 2019 Annual Campaign, our Patron of the J Campaign and the Lee & Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival. Whether you were part of the standing-room only crowd, or had participated in another event that was held during our “Kickoff” week, I sincerely thank you for being among the first to step forward and help begin what I know will be a great year in our community.

A few days later, as we joined together with our congregations and families to commemorate the start of the New Year, we found ourselves anticipating the potential of Hurricane Florence severely impacting Tidewater. Many of our synagogues, along with many of our homes, are in what is now a familiar and commonly used term—“Zone A.” In fact, many congregants in the Ghent area of Norfolk, as well as those at the Oceanfront, encountered flooding as they traveled to and from Rosh Hashanah services.

While at this moment, the threat and potential impacts from Hurricane Florence have been downgraded for Hampton Roads, it has been a somewhat harrowing start of 5779. Hopefully, for some it has been an opportunity for enhanced reflection and family connections. For others, particularly those vulnerable members of our community, it may have been a challenging time and I hope that we have all been able to assist those who may have been in need in terms of storm preparations, evacuations, physical assistance, or emotional support.

It has been heartening to receive messages of support and offers of assistance from the Jewish Federations of North America, as well as from CEO’s of other Federations, such as in Houston, Texas. As Houston recently marked the first anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, the fact that they are stepping forward to offer assistance and resources reinforces the strength of our system and of our people.

As I said on September 6, we are all here to take care of and help each other in our times of need—locally and globally. Unexpectedly, that is how we have begun 5779.

L’shana tova tikatevu to all of you and your families and wishing us all a safe, sweet, and healthy new year.

Betty Ann Levin

Executive vice president

United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

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