As you may be aware… one of my favorite days of the year is National Doughnut Day. This “day” was established long before any of the other days like National Talk Like a Pirate Day or National Pizza Day. And I am pretty sure it even pre-dates the national commemorative months like Jewish American Heritage Month that falls in May, or Women’s History Month that falls in March. I bring this up because later this month we will once again be holding our Annual Women’s Forum event.
It is no coincidence that many years ago, the Jewish Federation decided to hold this annual event in March in order to mark and commemorate this important month.
Each March, the Jewish Federation brings our community together to honor women who have made a difference in their respective organizations. It is important to note that the organizations in our community are the ones to select their honoree each year.
This got me thinking as to who are the women that have made a difference in my life. Of course, I think of my mom, my wife, and my two daughters. They have helped shape me into the person I am today.
In addition to the four I listed above, there is another one that I want to acknowledge and highlight.
Growing up, I was one of the very few who enjoyed going to Sunday School and Hebrew School. In actuality, in my class, I was pretty much the only one who did. I do not know what it was. Maybe it was because there were not many other Jews in my school, so that when I was at my synagogue, I was surrounded by “my people.” Alternatively, maybe it was the idea of learning more about my Judaism that excited me. Whatever the case may be, I have very fond memories of going to religious school each week.
Thankfully, I had some amazing teachers growing up at Temple Isaiah in the Bay Area. However, my all-time favorite and who I was lucky enough to have on more than one occasion was Merrill Corwin. She had such a profound impact on my Jewish learning that I am sure she is one of the reasons I am a Jewish professional today. It was through her teaching that helped inspire and foster my love of Judaism. And I am sure that because I had such a positive experience in my Sunday School and Hebrew School classes, that I started teaching religious school back in 1997. That love of Judaism and wanting to give my students the same experience I had from teachers like Merrill was, and still is to this day, my goal for each of my classes.
I wish I had the opportunity to tell her how much of an impact she had on my life. But sadly, she passed away a number of years ago. So instead, I am sharing with you how she helped make me the person I am today.
Who are the women in your life that have played a significant role and influenced you in your life?
I hope you will take a moment to think of the women in your life that have helped make you who you are today. And if you can, please tell them, because they may not be aware.
I also want to express my appreciation to this year’s Women’s Forum honorees, as well as to all of our past honorees. Thank you for making a difference in not only your respective organizations, but also to all of us. Our community is stronger because of you.
jason moss is executive director of the Jewish Federation of the GREATER san gabriel and pomona valleys.