26 November 2014
This week’s parasha is Vayeitze. In the first ten verses, we read the word, makom – “place” – seven times as Jacob moves from place to place, finding a way to connect with God. Today, we each strive to find our own makom – our own place – in society and in our community. Defining oneself has never been an easy task. When we were kids, we compared ourselves to those individuals closest to us in order to help define who we are. As we grew up, we defined ourselves – as did Jacob – by moving away from our parents, creating a new and independent life.
A Google search of the phrase “find yourself” turns up millions of hits. There seems to be no limit as to how many ways there are to find oneself, but there is at least one way that won’t work: trying to become someone else. Jacob dressed up as his brother and tried to pass himself off as Esau. But only by being honest with himself did he change from being known as Jacob to being known as Israel.
We can each define who we are and our role in the Jewish community; not by comparing ourselves to others (or becoming someone else), but by finding the makom that works for us. At The Jewish Federation, we’re calling this concept “Make it Yours” — defining what speaks to each of us and then building upon it, helping to develop and strengthen our Jewish community.
First, you just need to find your place.
Best wishes to you and yours for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday.
Steven A. Rakitt, Chief Executive Officer
They care, they really care. This fact was evident this past Thursday evening when more than 350 of DC’s best and brightest young adults joined together at The Jewish Federation’s signature event, Impact DC. This evening celebrated the next generation’s commitment to philanthropy and community. Together, these young people make an incredible impact on The Federation’s mission to improve lives locally, in Israel and around the globe. The evening raised more than $25,000 for The Federation’s Annual Campaign which supports programs and services offered by more than 43 local, 12 national and four international agencies, as well as more than 60 congregations.
After you spin the dreidel and light the menorah, why don’t you cook up some delicious Chanukah dishes…with a twist? Click here to view the Jewish Food Experiences Top 10 Chanukah recipes from some of Washington’s top chefs, restaurateurs and cookbook authors. Serve Bubbe’s latkes alongside Pati Jinich’s Mexican chicken with tamarind, apricots and chipotle and round out the meal with Mike Isabella’s zeppole or Paula Shoyer’s lemon olive oil semolina cakes, among other mouthwatering appetizers, entrees and desserts on this special holiday list.
They say that continuing Jewish education, linked with a formative Israel experience, will forge a strong Jewish identity in the hearts and minds of our youth. So go ahead, consider an Israel experience for your teenager and let Israel Quest, a Jewish teen identity project of the United Jewish Endowment Fund, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and local congregations and regional youth organizations help. The Israel Quest scholarship program is now accepting applications for subsidy requests for Israel travel for teens in 9th – 12th grades. Click here for more details.
Chanukah is coming to brighten up your winter days! Check out The Jewish Federation’s new Chanukah booklet that sheds light on the holiday with new perspectives, recipes with a twist, beloved books, fun activity ideas and discussion starters. Click here to download it for free, and share it with friends and family too!
- Take part in #GivingTuesday to stand up for the causes you care most about. Share on social media.
- Browse the JCCGW’s ARTsy Holiday Boutique & Craft Show from Sunday, November 30 to Tuesday, December 23.
- Help The Jewish Federation reach out to community members and give them the opportunity to support those in need this year. Sign up today for the Winter Dial-a-Thons from December 2-9 in MD, DC and VA.
- Hear from author Lucinda Franks Morgenthau at Northern Virginia j.talks on Thursday, December 4.