A busy and rewarding week

What a whirlwind week it was!

June is usually the busiest and most hectic month of the year at Federation: We push hard to finish the current Annual Campaign while putting plans in place for next year, and there are a lot of Federation community events on the calendar.

On Sunday, the Maimonides Medical Society had its last program of the year at the home of Dr. Maxine Silverman Rosenthal. The attendees were treated to a fascinating presentation on the life and medical legacy of Maimonides (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon or Rambam), a great medieval Jewish scholar, philosopher and physician whose approach to healthy living is very relevant in our days. Maimonides is also famous for his ladder of eight levels of charitable giving, which serves as guide for Tzedakah to Jews around the world. It is not coincidental that Federations' medical associations are named after him.

On Monday, our Jewish Community Relations Council presented an excellent lecture on anti-Semitism by Eric Ross, ADL's assistant regional director. Our JCRC has been focusing on this issue, as I have written before, because of a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the past few years. The JCRC serves as a local monitor and a resource for the Jewish community. If you experience or learn about an anti-Semitic incident, get in touch with us immediately. We will provide you with resources and connections to address the issue.

On Tuesday night, I had a very good talk about the Federation with the group of women who visited Israel this past November with the Jewish Women's Renaissance Project. Before the trip, many of these women had been involved in the community tangentially, and it is very rewarding to see that their Israel experience has made them much more aware, interested and involved.

Federation's Grants Committee met Wednesday night to review and make decisions on 11 grant applications from our local agencies and synagogues. The committee was very impressed with the quality of the proposals and was pleased to see a wide range of projects --  from programs for teenagers to men's night out to services for the elderly. What's also very important: All of the proposals were collaborative. This is Federation's way of bringing the community together for common good. We will be making an announcement on the grant recipients soon.  

All of these events had been thoroughly planned and prepared, of course, but on Tuesday I participated in a most unexpected and riveting event: Gov. Rick Scott visited the Orlando Torah Academy to promote the $654,000 in funding for Jewish day school security that he approved last week. The governor came with his retinue and was also accompanied by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and State Rep. Randy Fine, who championed this appropriation.I was happy to shake hands with Gov. Scott, and I thanked him for helping our day schools strengthen their ability to protect their students. The appropriated funds will be distributed among Florida's day schools on a per-student basis. Along with the Torah Academy, the Jewish Academy of Orlando will receive a portion of the funding, which we need so much on the Maitland Jewish Community Campus.

After such a busy week, I look forward to a quiet and peaceful Shabbat, and I wish you a good Shabbat too.