Each month, I sit down to write this column… a column we titled many years ago called From Where I Sit. It provides me the opportunity to share my thoughts with the community about things I see, hear and envision in and for our community. As I look back on my past columns, one thing I have not discussed is what I personally get out of attending programs in and around our community.
As you might imagine, I attend a lot of programs and events all over our community. From where I sit, I have the opportunity to know the time, dedication and commitment it takes to put these programs together. What I love and appreciate about attending each of these programs is that I get to witness firsthand all these efforts come to fruition. Community members, many of them volunteers who might have very specific interests, and are dedicated to our community, put each program together.
I enjoy attending events for a variety of reasons. For one, I enjoy seeing people from all across the community. It is a chance for me to catch up with people and find out how they are doing. Another reason is that the topic is interesting. I always hope to gain a new nugget of information or see a different perspective on a topic I might know something about or are interested. Take for instance our Jewish Book Festival event with Vivian Graubard. She was one of the collaborators on a book entitled Yes She Can, 10 stories of Hope and Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House. Having the chance to see “behind the curtain” of what happens in Washington is always fascinating to me. I really like to hear these stories and insights in person, rather than seeing it on TV or reading about it in an article.
Another example was our Every Person Has a Name event that took place this past January and will be happening again next month (Read the article on page 18 to learn more about it). As I sat there, listening as volunteers read the names of those who were killed during the Holocaust, I was incredibly moved. It felt as though we were keeping the memory alive of everyone we mentioned and that we were fulfilling the mitzvah of remembering those who came before us.
In an age where there is so much competition for people’s attention and time, nothing compares to “being in the room where it happened.” What is hard is that sometimes events take place and they are only offered one time so if you miss it, you really miss it.
If you would, please share with me (firstname.lastname@example.org) what you get out of attending events in and around the community. I would love to hear your thoughts. Moreover, I would encourage everyone to try to attend more events in the coming months. We have so much going on in our community…it makes me feel good knowing that I live and work in a community that has so many incredible opportunities available to all of us.
Oh… one last thing… I want to wish you and your entire family a very happy Hanukkah and I hope that the last days of 2019 are good ones for our community.
jason moss is executive director of the Jewish Federation of the GREATER san gabriel and pomona valleys.