11 May 2018
By Brian Ashin
Co-Chair of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet Study Mission to Morocco and Spain
Last Friday I walked in to a synagogue in the middle of Madrid with 140 of North America’s most dedicated young Jewish philanthropists as part of our trip to Morocco and Spain on JFNA’s 2018 National Young Leadership Cabinet Study Mission.
None of us knew another soul there. None of us knew any of their customs. Most of us couldn’t even converse with the congregants.
We were strangers in a strange land.
And then the Rabbi started…yitgadal v’yitgadash shmeah rabah. May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified.
And in an instant we were no longer strangers. We were no longer guests. With the simple recitation of one of our People’s oldest prayers we instantly became members of a Kehilla – a community – stitched together by a common goal to prepare for that week’s Sabbath – as we all said together “amen.”
Any while we may have entered shul to bright eyes and big stares from congregants wondering who (or what) just took over their special place, we walked out of shul just sixty minutes later with congregants of all ages wishing us Shabbat Shalom.
This is Cabinet.
When eighteen elderly Jews in the remote north of Morocco need kosher meat – we are there for them with a truck. When residents at a Casablancan old age home need some company – we are there with a bright smile and a big hug. If families cannot afford to send their kids to Madrid’s only Jewish day school – we are there with a check.
This is Cabinet, too.
Being there. Everywhere. Awake.
Making a difference.
Bringing it home.
Rachel Hoffer and I had the honor under the incredible leadership of Michelle Hirsch and Jeffrey Rum to lead 140 of North America’s most dedicated young Jewish philanthropists through Morocco and Madrid. An experience none of us will ever forget. I think I can speak for all us when I say that we return home energized and inspired about the future of not just the Jewish people, but the future of successful co-existence of Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Until next time…