How to Best Describe Our Jewish Community? GREAT!

When I started playing Wordle two years ago, I decided my opening word would be “GREAT” as this was how I viewed everyday…because everyday was GREAT having a wonderful family, living in the USA, enjoying work, and having a faith that we all cherish. And though GREAT wasn’t considered the best opening move in Wordle with only two vowels, I can proudly say that I have never lost a game starting each morning GREAT. 

However, since October 7, 2023, I haven’t been feeling the same. I can’t get the atrocities out of my mind, I can’t stop thinking about the hostages, I can’t stop worrying about the future of Israel, and I can’t stop thinking about life as a Jew amidst the antisemitism that is becoming pervasive and more visible in the US and worldwide.

Yet, everyday something happens that uplifts my spirit, puts a smile on my face, restores my faith, and gives me promise for the future. And I wanted to share a few of these instances with you, in no particular order, as I hope that you will all feel the same growing positivity and increasing optimism that the power of our Jewish collective brings:

I received a call from Jay Brodach, a long time community supporter, asking me to write a letter of recommendation so he can join Volunteers for Israel and lend a hand working on a military base in Israel, handling many of the chores taskshich our IDF soldiers are unable to do while fighting on the front lines. 

Jodi Harrison Bauer, another long time supporter, asked what she could do to help and decided to ask Holocaust survivor Andy Sakarny to join her podcast, Fearlessly Authentic, in order to remind over 20,000 listeners can be reminded of the destructive nature of antisemitism.

Edina Oestreicher, director of UConn Hillel has rallied and supported so many of the university’s Jewish students so they can be proud Jews of who they are and feel safe on campus. Indeed, all our area Hillels deserve praise for their consistent outreach.

Anya Farber, a community supporter, has created a platform:, to encourage people to purchase Israeli made products, as so many businesses in Israel are suffering. 

Elanit Linder of Jewish Family Services has been working with a group that matches American therapists with Israeli therapists to show support and help deal with what is and will be a pervasive mental health crisis.

Many thanks to the more than 50 people who came out to make calls for Super Sunday on November 19, and We even had Rachel Salem who came all the way from Chicago to participate. And, of course, many thanks to all of you who answered your phones and donated graciously to our Annual Campaign, as well as the Israel Emergency Campaign.

So much gratitude goes to our CEO Gayle Slossberg who has been tirelessly devoting her energies to raising awareness, raising funds, and raising spirits. Gayle and Rabbi Josh Pernick organized two busloads of community members to join the November 14 rally in Washington, DC. Thanks to all who participated!

We have an amazing community — a community of people who have contributed nearly $1.5 million to the Israel Emergency Fund, who have stepped up to increase their Annual Campaign pledges, who speak out on Facebook and Instagram posts, and who have all joined together in support of each other and Israel!

Tomorrow morning, when I play Wordle, I will proudly and happily start with the word GREAT, because we have one very GREAT JEWISH COMMUNITY! And the It is my hope that all of you will continue to participate and donate so the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven is able to provide needed services and resources locally, around the world and in Israel. 

Wishing you all a peaceful, joyous, and healthy 2024… with the hope that by the time this message is read, all the hostages and brave IDF soldiers are home safely.

L’Shalom, Gerry





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