A MESSAGE FROM JEWISH FEDERATION PRESIDENT GERRY BAKER
I love folk music. I find this genre to be quite soothing, somewhat emotional, very poetic and the melodies simply wonderful. A little game I enjoy is thinking of a song that reflects the mood I am in or the situation I am facing, or a song that may even provide guidance.
For example, as president of this amazing organization, I am often faced with challenging situations that usually deal with the different perspectives people have. In whatever manner we may view an issue, the lens we look through really colors our response.
And so, my mind often goes to the beautiful song, “Both Sides Now,” as written by Carly Simon and later sung by Judy Collins. A child looks at clouds with wonderment: “Rows and floes of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air.” While the jaded adult only sees those clouds “block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone." Same clouds, totally different view!
Joe South took this on a different path with his hit, “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” Every word in this song is poetic, but my favorite is: “Walk a mile in my shoes and before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.”
When I think of Amy Holtz, and how she readily and wholeheartedly stepped up when Judy Alperin moved on to Hadassah, one song sticks in my mind: “You’ve Got a Friend,” written and sung by Carole King and then popularized by James Taylor. Amy has been such a terrific friend to so many of us, and a terrific friend to all Jewish people. “You just call out my name, And you know, wherever I am, I'll come runnin’.” These words epitomize Amy’s devotion and caring for each and every one of us, and all our agencies, donors, staff, and partners.
Now, with Gayle Slossberg joining us as our new CEO, I was thinking about what song I am feeling. So many people have told me how thrilled and excited they are to welcome Gayle, that one song keeps popping into my mind: “Anticipation” by Carly Simon. I think we are all anticipating the start of Gayle’s term later this summer and we all know “how easy it feels to” have Gayle as our next CEO. Gayle’s family has been involved in the Greater New Haven community for a very long time, and her husband, David, is currently a Federation board member, The couple are parents of three grown children: Jeremy, 30, Alex, 28, and Rebecca, 25.
For those who contribute to the Annual Campaign in any way they can, I think of another iconic song: “Bridge over Troubled Water,” written and sung by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. This incredible song deals with compassion and helping others, which is something that each and every one of you do daily as you support the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. “When you're down and out; when you're on the street, when evening falls so hard, I will comfort you.”
I wish all of you a safe, restful, and pleasant summer. Please remember that the help you provide doesn’t take a vacation. Your support is needed year-round.