It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.
- Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot 2:21
, Rabbi Tarfon teaches us a vital lesson that, in few words, addresses both dedication and despair. In each of our efforts to make the world a better place, whether through the work we do with our communities, our congregations, our organizations, or even on our own, we can and should feel a sense of accomplishment that, while our commitments may not have enabled us to reach all of our aspirations (and, if we did, would our aspirations really have been high enough?), our efforts have moved the ball forward in vital ways for those that follow us.
On Wednesday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m. at our Federation offices (4200 Park Avenue, Suite 300, Bridgeport), we will be holding our Federation’s Annual Meeting, an event to which all our community is invited and encouraged to attend.
The meeting will include a keynote talk by community-member David Eisner, chair of 70 Faces Media, one of the most important Jewish news and media organizations in the world, on the topic, "In an Era of 'Fake News,' Should We Care about Honest Jewish Journalism?" We will say “thank you” to Federation board members who are completing their terms and whose dedication we have benefited from over the past two (or more) years, and we will be welcoming new board members, including 11 wonderful leaders just joining the board.
And, notably, we’ll be welcoming a new board chair, Jim Sugarman, and showing our appreciation to outgoing board chair, Bonnie Slyn, who is completing her two-year term as the first chair of the merged Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County.
Under Bonnie’s tenure, the Federation has gone through great change and meaningful growth. We have begun to create a sense of combined community, started to reverse the trends to declining revenue and allocations, created dynamic new programming, and strengthened our relationships with beneficiary partners, both locally and around the world. We created a new website, published a new magazine, and increased our Charity Navigator rating from two-star to four-star. And, while we have far from completed the process, we have begun to focus on some of the challenging questions facing our Federation in months and years to come.
Did we perfect the world? No. No one ever does. But Bonnie has been a model of never desisting and never despairing, creating a solid foundation for the board that Jim Sugarman will lead for the next two years.
Please join us on January 31, as we celebrate this transition, say “thank you,” and move forward in our continuing efforts to perfect the world -- together.