President's Column - February 2018

Shalom. The Jewish people have historically provided a home for refugees and aid to those in need. I would like to mention a couple of examples of that mission from this past month. First, I am pleased that TBT’s participation in the Shoreline Interfaith Refugee Resettlement group (SHIRR) has led to our sponsoring another refugee family arriving on January 25 (just a few days after I’m writing this column – and my twin daughters’ 18th birthday, if I can throw that in!). The family of 3 from Afghanistan will have a Branford apartment near the center of town. As reported in our TBT weekly Shofar blast, TBT needs to raise $3,500 to honor its financial commitment to help resettle the family, and I am confident that our congregants will fund that commitment.

I also recently attended a special briefing in New Haven, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, by William Recant, the Assistant Executive Vice-President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Invited guests heard Dr. Recant speak passionately and eloquently of the JDC’s mission and accomplishments over several decades, providing aid, medicine, social support, and rescue operations (as needed) to Jewish and other communities around the world. Dr. Recant’s work in this field goes back to assisting with the airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, but more recently the JDC has needed to intervene to assist Jews in need during the current crisis in Venezuela (among many more examples too numerous to mention here). The JDC is a partner agency of the Jewish Federations of Greater New Haven, and hearing of its work makes one proud to be part of the greater Jewish community.

I am also proud to say that many of our congregants (adults and children) recently participated in the various one-year anniversary Women’s Marches held in multiple cities. I fully expect to see and hear of many more efforts by our congregants to both promote social justice and assist people and communities in need.

- Jeff