Reflections by Purim Ball Honorees Laurie Moskowitz and Steve Rabinowitz
April 5, 2016 by
Tonight really represents a bookmark for Steve and me. We began our time with JPDS helping the school find a permanent home and tonight, as we leave the school day-to-day, we know that the school is now growing and thriving in its current space. And so it prompted me to take a step back and think a bit more deeply not about how we engaged in the school, but about why.
I recently read a commentary by British Lord Rabbi Jonathon Sacks, where he laid out two scenarios for the Jewish people in the year 2050:
The first where the Jewish people have evaporated in the face of fear and extremism and anti-semitism, and Jews have chosen to live out their lives in the margins.
The second scenario is a flourishing Jewish people where, Jewish life is on the rise, and the Jewish community invests in Jewish education, and Israel has found legitimacy and strategic alliances.
Sacks notes that “Jews make prophecies, not predictions. The difference is that if a prediction comes true, it has succeeded. If a prophecy has come true, it has failed. We don’t predict the future; we make the future. Ours is the world’s most compelling faith in free will.”
He goes on to say that we live in a unique time, a time that as Jews we have not experienced in our 4,000 year history. We have independence and sovereignty in Israel, alongside freedom and equality in the Diaspora and particularly here in the US (at least until November). And as Jews we have rarely had both of these things at the same time.
And yet despite this unique set of circumstances, Jews have overachieved in every field except Judaism. The most striking findings of the Pew study from 2013 were that 94 percent of American Jews are proud to be Jews, while only 48 percent of American Jews cannot read the aleph-bet.
So tomorrow, Steve and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary and as the story goes, we quickly got involved with JPDS. Nine years ago, when we chose to send first Jake and then Sammy to JPDS two years later, we chose a future with a robust Judaism and one that would ensure that our children were educated and could choose to continue these traditions themselves one day and continue to build that robust Jewish future. Okay and maybe one of them will over-achieve in Judaism. We invested heavily in JPDS, and tonight we can say that we have been greatly rewarded for our investment, with an amazing place to send our children every day, with great friends that both they and we have made, and with amazing community. You honor us tonight and we thank you, but really we thank you for so so much more.