New Year, New Mission

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Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and one of the nation’s leading Jewish thinkers and authors, once wrote, “Judaism teaches us that the journey is more  important that the arrival itself.”

As we start the new Jewish year, we have an opportunity to reflect on where we have been and where we are going. Perhaps you can consider, what have I done to ease someone else’s journey this year? Or what will be different about the year ahead?


– Will this be the year that I will break a bad habit?

– Will this be the year that I will seek help?


– Will I volunteer this year?

– What are the little things that I am doing for my family that are having the most impact?

-When was the last time I did something for the first time?

– What am I learning this year?

– How does Judaism bring joy to my life?

The new year is a time to reaffirm our tradition’s long standing commitment to tikkun  olam (repairing the world). It’s a time to think about who we are and those who are facing challenges. Because bad things happen to good people  all the time. This is life’s journey.

As I begin my two-year tenure as chair of the board  of The Associated: Jewish  Community Federation of Baltimore, my mission is to ensure we have the resources and programs in place so we are always there for people.

People are our most important asset. It is often who you are traveling on the journey with that makes all the difference. I believe that the strength and the unique success of our greater Baltimore Jewish community rests on the talents of our volunteer and professional leadership.

As you start off a new year, find your passion and step  up to volunteer. Jewish  Volunteer Connection, The  Associated’s volunteer arm, is a wonderful resource, offering opportunities to make a difference through projects you can do at home and as part of a team.

Join a committee or consider making community-building  your profession. We are taking  steps now to develop leaders and volunteers to ensure Baltimore has a strong Jewish future.

I feel humbled to be given this opportunity and responsibility to serve as chair of the  board of The Associated. I  encourage others to volunteer, as a way to bring joy, fulfillment and meaning into their lives.

Shimon Peres said it best: “We are best when we work together, motivated to lift up the lives of others.”

Wishing you an abundance of blessings in your journey ahead.

L’shana tova v’metukah.

Debra “Debs” Silberman Weinberg is chair of the board of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

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