By Kirk Wisemayer, Executive Director
Jewish Federation of Atlantic & Cape May Counties
There is much anticipation here at the Shore as the weather warms up. Life takes on a new sense of hope and promise. It is, I know, a sense of anticipation that comes with spring everywhere, but, to me at least, it seems this anticipation is heightened in a beach community like ours.
It may have something to do with the fact that our numbers swell with summer folk, or family members moved away returning to relive the summers of their youth. It may also have something to do with the gradual return north of local snowbirds. Then again, it may be something much simpler like the onset of daylight savings, or something more complex and geophysical that we all feel, but which very few of us, especially me, understand.
Whatever the reason, it is a wonderful time of year. There are signs of new life everywhere in nature, and also in our Jewish community, as synagogues and organizations begin rolling out summer programs.
The order of the Jewish calendar during the spring months should be no surprise. It begins with our emancipation from slavery, our exodus from Egypt, of our becoming a people, no longer known as ‘Hebrews’, but as ‘Israel’. No sooner are we done with Pesach (Passover) than do we begin the counting of the Omer, or the period known as Sfirah. While we count, and within days of the end of Pesach, we commemorate, on Yom HaShoah, the murder of six million of our people. We then remember, on Yom HaZikaron, those who have fallen in the defense of Israel. Then, with a true sense of triumph and anticipation, with spring in its fullest glory, we celebrate, on Yom Ha’atzmaut, the establishment and the life of the modern state of Israel. It is a crescendo no human composer could have created, and one that comes to full force with the birth of summer and the holiday of Shavuot, which is, by the way, also the end of our counting of the Omer.
One of the best decisions Jewish Federation ever made was to change its annual meeting to the spring, changing its format from a stuffy meeting to a festive cocktail reception. It is informal, hopeful, and fun. What better way to begin a new board cycle, a new campaign cycle, and a new programming cycle than with a celebration of our donors, of life and the future, and of what it means to be Jewish by the Shore?
This year’s Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception will take place Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at Linwood Country Club, and, yes, we will give out awards, and elect new members to our board, but for most of the evening we will simply enjoy your company: In anticipation of what is to come, of how the year will unfold, and of the possibility our common purpose allows. This is Jewish community.
Each of us, volunteer, leader and staff member, at Jewish Federation hope you will join us to celebrate spring and Jewish community at this year’s Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception. If you made a gift to the annual campaign in 2015, you will receive an invitation in the mail. If you did not, please call us at (609) 822-4404, and we will ensure your invitation to celebrate spring and ‘One Jewish Community’ is in the mail.