March eNews Letter from Rabbi Lopatin

Dear Friends,

Alicia has set such a beautiful tone of gratitude and I want to begin my note by thanking her for her leadership as JCRC/AJC president. She has truly been a mentor for me in my first six months with the organization. Even during this difficult time, Alicia’s smile, wisdom and positive attitude has permeated the organization and given us all the confidence we need to make it through any adversity and upheaval. We are all so privileged to have her leadership, and I know, even after she leaves the presidency, we can rely on her character and strength to continue to move us forward.

And move forward we must! 

Our staff is learning how to cope with working from home, social distancing and isolation. Importantly, we are using our mission of relationship building and advocacy to transform our work in this new era where geographic limitations, in a way, are lifted. Even though some amazing programs were indeed cancelled or postponed, we are discovering that we can create new initiatives based on internet communication and gathering. These events  can bring faiths, communities and government leaders together in an even more ambitious way than before. Already this week we are bringing rabbis, imams, pastors and the community-at-large together to wage our mutual war against the coronavirus.

This situation reminds me that our rabbis have told us that the astrologers correctly predicted that our forefather Abram (his original name) would not have a future. Yet the trick was to change his name from Abram, meaning the father of one nation, to Abraham, the father of all nations. Abram would not have a future, but Abraham would have a legacy that would change the world. So, too, our old way of doing things – of bringing people together physically around metropolitan Detroit – will not work for the time being. Yet our own “Abraham,” our desire to impact people around us in every way possible, will usher in a new era for JCRC/AJC when we re-engineer our mission to build relationships and advocate on a broader and more profound level – across geographic divides and into hundreds of homes. We are committed at JCRC/AJC to make the creative pivot to enable us to fulfill our mission of being the Jewish voice for the broader community.

So with all the challenges, we do feel gratitude. To our flexible and visionary staff. To our lay leadership for their wisdom, commitment and engagement. To the Federation and our Jewish community who understand how vital our mission is, especially in this period when people are physically isolated and distanced. 

JCRC/AJC will not let the Jewish community be isolated, and we will always be the advocate for the needs of one another, and for others where we live. With your help we will find the creative, innovative ways to accomplish our mission in ways we could not even imagine. Together, we can do this!

Asher Lopatin