“IT IS ONLY WHEN ALL JEWS ARE TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY THAT THE WHOLE TORAH CAN BE FULFILLED.” J.M. EPSTEIN, KITZUR SHNE LUHOT HABERIT
By Manny Synalovsky
Four years ago, the Jewish Federation of Broward County began its quest to create bridges between our local community and Latin Jews. Mirroring the success of Miami, the hope was that those who have moved to our neighborhoods would want to engage with Jewish life here as well.
The international diversity that cohesively exists in Dade County has added a scope to a collective heritage that is embraced and cultivated through all, regardless of their home country origin.
It is with great pride that the Latin Initiative in Broward County was launched four years ago and has successfully engaged many through volunteerism, philanthropy and social activities. As with any great initiative, there comes a time when we must step back and analyze how to evolve.
For the most part, the Latin Jewish community has been led by a few active committee members. Now is the time for us, as Latins, to step out from the shadows of our anonymous social circles and be willing to take a seat with our whole Jewish community.
The Talmud says (Baba Batra, page 8): “If a person resides in town for 30 days, that person is responsible for continuing the soup kitchen; After three months, that person is responsible for the charity box; After six months, to the clothing fund; After nine months, to the burial fund; And after 12 months, that person is responsible for contributing to the repair of the town wall.”
When we moved to the United States, it was under the assumption that all of us would be honoring our Latin culture but willing to integrate into American society by being participating Jews.
The Jewish people have been sustained for centuries upon centuries by one simple promise—Klal Yisrael (a world in which every Jew is responsible for one another). The only way for us to fulfill this sacred Judaic value is to be involved, engaged and inspired to act as one.
There are no crystal balls in life. As Latins, we should know better than anyone else that there are also no fortune tellers who can advise what the future will hold. How many of us, our parents, or grandparents knew that we would be living here in another country?
On that same note, can any of us promise with 100 percent certainty that we or our loved ones will ever be in need? It is often difficult to look past the lush palm trees of South Florida and the beautiful sandy beaches to acknowledge that life may not always be based in paradise. Can anyone promise that their grandchild will not be afflicted with autism or Down syndrome? Is it possible that you or your parent could someday suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another memory disorder? Can you guarantee that your daughter’s husband will not be tragically killed, and she will now be a single parent?
The answer is no. But what you can assure is that the Jewish community will be there to lift you up, care for you, provide for you and assure that you are not alone.
We do this by supporting the Jewish Federation of Broward County, which is your safety net. The Federation is the one organization that unifies the Jewish community, assuring that there are vital programs and services to feed the hungry, shelter the poor, rescue the imperiled, sustain our frail elderly, educate our young and so much more.
Join us. The Jewish Federation of Broward County is not whole without the Latin Jewish community. Now is the time for us to be connected, be caring, be generous and be Jewish Broward.