Think Community this Spring

By Judy Alperin Diamondstein

I have a March birthday, which falls late enough in the month to be after the official first day of spring. This makes me an Aries, which turns out to be the perfect sign for me. I remember always wearing new spring clothes to school on my birthday. I was particularly fond of an outfit I sported when I was in the second grade that featured kelly green checked pants and a short-sleeve top with flowers. I would insist on wearing a spring jacket and pushing up the coat sleeves because it was springtime after all. It turns out that New Jersey is very much like New England; I froze my way to and from school every birthday and yet I persisted, certain that the spring warmth and sunshine would comfort me.

Looking out my window as I write this column, there is a fair amount of snow packing the ground, and yet, I swear I saw a robin red breast sitting in a tree just tempting us to think spring.

When we think spring we know that summer isn’t far behind, and summer means camp. Jewish summer camp is one of the best investments made in our children. There are lots of great options with something to match every child’s interest. Locally, JCC Day Camp is gearing up for a very special season and will return to its beautiful campsite at 360 Amity Road. Building on the strength of our Israeli emissary program, JCC Day Camp will host two teens from our Partnership2Gether sister city, Afula, as summer shlichim for two weeks and that will add even more
to the richness of Jewish heritage at camp.

As we begin to come out of our winter spaces and places, I encourage you to participate and connect with
your community. This spring, push beyond imaginary borders and enjoy all the wonderful opportunities that make our community so special. With the JCC, Federation and Foundation programs continuing with the support of all of our dynamic, warm and welcoming synagogues and agencies, this is the moment to walk through what may be a new door to discover the richness of Jewish life that happens every day.

There is no question that these are challenging times. We will rise up to meet them.

You may be aware that our JCC was the victim of two telephonic threats as part of a series of such threats that hit over 50 JCCs across the country. We are working closely with our partners at SCN (Jewish Federation of North America’s Secure Community Network) the FBI, the Woodbridge Police Department, the Connecticut State Police and ADL to ensure that we are prepared for and will respond to these challenges to the best of our ability. It is heartening that we have been the recipient of dozens of postcards from people across the country sending us messages of peace, hope and love.

The best way to counter those who seek to disrupt us through threats of terror is to continue on, united as one community. I hope you will take an active part in saying “no” to terror by enjoying the rich fabric of Jewish life in the Greater New Haven area.

The Jewish Federation will continue to work to strengthen our community, bring us together, meet the challenges of today and plan for tomorrow. But this is only possible with your help. If you haven’t already made a pledge in support of the Jewish Federation’s annual campaign, please do. And consider stretching just a bit more than you did last year. The annual campaign is the backbone and safety net of the Jewish people here in Greater New Haven, in Israel and throughout the world. The dollars you invest in the campaign never stop working as our partners meet the challenges facing world Jewry.

There’s been so much to be grateful for, and it is my honor to offer appreciation to each member of our community.


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