Shabbat Greetings from Meredith Dragon 8.7.20

It has been a sad week in our community with the loss of many dear community members, including our beloved Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick, Of Blessed Memory. Family, friends and community members are reeling with grief and anguish with each passing. Losing a loved one leaves a permanent hole in our hearts. We learn to live with the sorrow, but our world is forever changed.
When we lose someone, while we are left without a body to see and touch, we are filled with memories. We do have a lasting imprint of a loved one’s mark on our world. Everyone has his/her own unique voice and our loved ones, who have departed, leave their voice with us to remember what they said and how they made us feel. I often harken back to memories of conversations, times of laughter and joy, and sweet special moments. Of late, I seem to be often quoting my paternal grandma Martha. One of her favorite phrases was, in yiddish, menschen tracht und gott lacht, man plans and God laughs.
Using our voices to make a lasting impression is so important. Letting people know how we feel and what we feel ensures greater overall understanding in our relationships. This is true personally, and  communally. Over the past year we have had the opportunity to listen and learn from the many voices in our community through the Every Voice Counts Community Study. Nearly 3,000 voices responded to this study.  In the past month we have been rolling out the findings and they are fascinating. All of the focused reports are now available online, as well as videos of the community presentations. (click here to access these resources)
We listened to each person who took the time to complete this comprehensive survey; we synthesized what everyone said and now we are able to put those voices into action. Once again, in the coming months, you will have an opportunity to use your voice to help shape the future of our Jewish community. We will be relying on our many community members to participate in a series of programs that will allow us to shape our future. More will be shared about this soon.
In the meantime, there is another way that we can ensure our voices are heard and that is by participating in our national census. There are many reasons why it is critical that we all participate in the census. It is not too late to respond! 
Our Jewish community cares very deeply about you. At my first Federation opening event, nearly five years ago, I said there is a place and a space for everyone and I meant it. As we continue to live through challenging times, those words remain true. As we rely on each other, now more than ever, through these sustained unprecedented times, we continue to need each other more, even when we see each other less. We remember those we have lost, lift up those grieving, while we listen and work together to make our future strong. 
We do not know what the future holds, man plans and God laughs, but we know a constant will be our unwavering support of the many voices that make our community whole.
Shabbat shalom.
Meredith Dragon, CEO


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