March 6, 2020
Adar 10, 5780
I'm still feeling the warm glow of last Saturday night's celebration of Tzedek's 5th anniversary at Manny's Deli. What an amazing and joyous experience! Sincere thanks to all - volunteers, board members and staff - who helped make it happen. Through your efforts, we were able to celebrate the next chapter of our congregation's life in a way that truly expressed the unique spirit of our community.
I'm grateful as well to my dear friend and colleague Rabbi Alissa Wise for facilitating a powerful Havdalah ceremony and offering a moving presentation on the true meaning of our celebration. You can read her remarks here. This excerpt should give you a sense of the power of her charge to us:
Already Tzedek is at a place of enormous power. I want to invite you to let it. Let this struggle heal you. Let it transform you. Let Tzedek be a place that you all tend to in order to do this critical work. Let yourselves indulge in it. Demand in it all you need and more! Let it be a place where you can be vulnerable and show your hurt, feel your loss. let it seep out, let it heal not just ourselves but everyone. Let it inform how we respond to antisemitism and Islamophobia, to racism and transphobia. Let the end of exile for Palestinians take an edge off that stubborn feeling of loss within us. Let your project be a way to do the holy work of remembrance and return.
(What else can I say to Alissa's words but Amen!)
Saturday evening was also the occasion of a very important announcement: through the generosity of an anonymous donor, every donation made to Tzedek Chicago between now and July 31 will be matched - up to $25,000.
I can't understate what an opportunity this matching contribution represents for us. In the very basic sense, it has the potential to ensure our financial sustainability in to the future - which is particularly critical given the significant growth of our budget this year. And on a deeper level, this kind of a donation represents a clear that Tzedek Chicago is an important, vital part of the American Jewish world - one that is eminently worthy of our support.
In other words, we have arrived!
We will be offering more information about this matching gift and how members/supporters can participate in this new campaign going forward. For now, however, let me just reiterate my gratitude to this amazing community for all it has accomplished in its short but mighty five year history. I feel deeply honored to be a part of it and can't wait to see where our journey will lead us next.
Rabbi Brant Rosen