I am humbled by this honor, and pleased to share it with someone as accomplished and worthy as Ariana. Also, I’m somewhat surprised, since I haven’t won anything since the 1989 Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby in Stoughton, MA. (Well, I came in third place out of three contestants, but I got a trophy.)
Gather the Jews provides such a unique and precious service to the DC Jewish community. In a time where young Jews cluster into communities based upon their religious observance, GTJ offers a fun atmosphere for young Jewish professionals to create a community across the religious spectrum. It’s Jews who enjoy socializing and spending time with other Jews, and it’s a model that I hope will be replicated across the country.
I have tried to shape my own involvement in the Jewish community in a similar fashion. I work with Jewish college students at GW and college students of all faiths at Georgetown; I serve on the board at the warm and inviting Kesher Israel synagogue; and I seek to set the record straight on Israel in the public sphere.
Even with all the wonderful work GTJ and other Jewish groups do, our community will fail to live up to its true calling if we forget some of our core Jewish principles about relations between man and his fellow, all of whom are created in the image of God:
- “The world is built on kindness.” (Psalms 89:3)
- “Greet everybody with a warm, cheerful, and pleasant countenance.” (Pirkei Avot 1:15)
- “You…shall not bear a grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)
Again, thank you for this honor, and I wish all of you a wonderful Shavuot holiday, as we celebrate receiving the gift of the Torah and its timeless and beautiful message.
Best wishes, and chag sameach,