The community came together for music, conversation and bagels on January 12 to thank and honor donors to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven’s 2020 Annual Campaign. The musical brunch-and-learn featured Noah Diamondstein, an artist, multi-instrumentalist, song leader, rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, and the manager of Jewish engagement and advocacy at the Jewish Center for Justice. Through his music, Diamondstein searches for new ways to inspire people to think and feel deeply about life and how Jewish traditions, stories and thoughts can imbue it with meaning.
“Today we are combining a lot of things that are special to me. We are combining my love of this Jewish community, our Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation system around the world that does more for our Jewish people than we can possibly imagine…but you all know that because you have been so generous…We are also celebrating my son and his continuing the Jewish journey that our family has been on serving the Jewish community,” said Judy Alperin, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven’s CEO and Diamondstein’s mother.
“And the last thing we are marking today is 20 years for me personally since I made a challenging decision to chart a new pathway for my life…and to celebrate milestones,” said Alperin. “I know there are many people in this room that this difficult [breast cancer] challenge has confronted you and your loved ones. Unfortunately, it is also a Jewish problem. Together we are strong. Together we overcome. And together we celebrate.”
The theme of overcoming, of tzedakah and of peace is such a central Jewish value and was further evidenced by the giving done by donors for the 2020 campaign.
“I think giving is one of the most important injunctions we have as a Jewish people. And if tzedakah can save us…then we better get on board and start giving,” Diamondstein said.
“The legacy of our great community leaders [Sydney Perry and Judy Alperin] is bringing us through the trial of fire. We should not be sitting here in this building but yet we are,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hoos, President of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. “We are because as a community we came together…and made ourselves stronger.”