What inspires a person to Jewish life? What motivates a person to live with values of Tzedakah?
I guess everyone has their own story. Mine began when I was just a kid of nine, living in Wales and collecting for Blue Boxes. Just a few years later, a local branch of a Zionist youth movement called Hanoar Hatzioni started up in our community.
My 10 year involvement with this group and my first trip to Israel at 16 helped cement my sense of Jewish identity and a lifelong passion for Jewish culture and support of Israel.
I believe education and connection to Israel are foundations to Jewish identity and continuity. It's from this belief that I devoted myself to creating a fund for the Wolfond Centrefor Jewish Campus Life.
We need to teach more than rituals and festival stories. We need to bring young people to Jewish life through a much richer education and Jewish experience. Our history, stories and values offer so much — lessons in morality, tradition,courage, tolerance, contribution and spirituality.
The Jewish people, in turn, have always had much to offer the world. But continuity today is threatened. And so will our Jewish contribution be. How can we re-engage our young people and ensure future generations live and experience life with a strong Jewish identity and carry forth our values?
Good questions. But without easy answers. Still, we must find a way because we have a great responsibility to those who came before us. It's an absolute miracle that we(the Jewish people) are still here. It's because of the commitment, tenacity and bravery of our ancestors — not just in recent years but of centuries ago.
To preserve our story and grow our story, we all have to be part of the story. Large or small, every effort and every dollar counts. Let's work together.