Updates from Mexico City, Remembrance and Celebration, and More. It’s Friday.

I write today from Mexico City, where I am traveling with Federation’s Jewish Community Leaders Program to explore this vibrant Jewish community.

Though the mission has been wonderful, today’s news from Israel was sobering: the bodies of three hostages murdered at the Nova Music Festival on October 7th have been recovered by the IDF. We mourn the loss of Itzhak Gelerenter, Amit Buskila, and Shani Louk. May their memories be for a blessing and may their loved ones find comfort and solace.

This news comes as Jews around the world continue to recognize Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, and Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. As I mentioned last week, these milestones feel different this year, especially as the war rages on. I hope you’ll send me your thoughts on how you are balancing remembrance and celebration in this challenging moment.

Shabbat Shalom,

Gil Preuss, CEO
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Updates from Mexico City, Remembrance and Celebration, and More. It’s Friday.

Updates from Mexico City

  • Two days in, we’ve begun to explore the differences and parallels between Mexico City and our own Jewish community. The historical sites here are fascinating, especially the Pyramids of Teotihuacan built around the same time as the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
  • We also spent time learning how the Mexico City Jewish community comes together to build such vibrant Jewish life for its 45,000 members. There is much to learn from their strong sense of connection and belonging. Today, we are visiting a few organizations, including the ORT School, a Chesed (caring) center, and some of the incredible synagogues in the city.

Remembrance and Celebration

  • Honoring the Fallen. Earlier this week, I attended the Israeli Embassy’s Yom Hazikaron event and was honored to lay a wreath in memory of those killed fighting for Israel and in terrorist attacks. This year’s ceremony was particularly poignant as a military leader described the loss of his friend on October 8th while he was fighting to free Kibbutz Be’eri of Hamas terrorists.
  • Reflections from Federation’s Shlichim (Israeli Emissaries). For our local shlichim, Israelis living in our community, the mixed feelings were certainly heightened. I was taken by the thoughtful words from shlichim Avi Eisen and Abraham Belilty, and encourage you to read their reflections.
  • Coming together. If you’re looking to honor Israel’s independence, there are still an amazing array of local Yom Ha’atzmaut events coming up this weekend. You can find them here.

Save the Date

  • Join me for Federation’s Annual Meeting. I hope to see you on Tuesday, June 4th for a special night of music at Washington Hebrew Congregation as we celebrate our community and connection to Israel. You won’t want to miss this gathering. Register here.