February 22, 2024

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), This past week, I have been very privileged to view some amazing films presented by our Levis JCC’s Judy Levis Krug Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival. Each was so different from the other, each a compelling story that brought to life some aspect of Jewish life, or a Jewish story and experience. Watching these films has helped me finally articulate the best word I can think of for what being Jewish means to me. For me, Judaism is a lens. All humans experience a multitude of life experiences—ups and downs, triumphs and disasters. Living life through a Jewish lens colors everything for me and creates purpose and meaning. This is what makes being Jewish so precious to me is. I hope I will see you all at some of the films that will be screened during the remaining week of our Festival and certainly for our spectacular closing event on March 4 featuring the film I Was Not Born a Mistake with Guest Speaker Yiscah Smith. Click here to learn more and to purchase tickets.

February 15, 2024

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), For all of you football fans, oh boy, Sunday night’s game really was one of the best Super Bowl games I have ever seen. Lori and I were fortunate to enjoy the evening with my friend Rebeca Suenderman and her husband, Phil. I have known Rebeca for almost 55 years – since elementary school! Rebeca’s family fled Germany for Uruguay during the time of the Nazis. They then came to the US when Rebeca was a young girl. She enrolled in Yeshiva speaking only Spanish, and had to catch up to all of her friends. She did just fine! It was so nice to see her and Phil again.

February 8, 2024

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), I'm writing this Shabbat message to you from my second JCCA "Mifgash," which means "Encounter." It is the annual gathering of JCC CEOs and senior JCC professional leadership from across the country, which was held in Denver, Colorado.

February 1, 2024

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), This past week, Lori and I received a visit from our son, Noah, and his fiancée Patricia. I was so proud to have them join us on Saturday night for the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center's Jeans Jewels & the J – Sparkles & Spurs event. This year we are thrilled to report a record turnout of 387 participants at this very special annual celebration of our Levis JCC. They also joined us on Monday night at the Levis JCC Sandler Center to enjoy great music by Bernstein, Gershwin and Sondheim presented by Aaron Kula and his great group of musicians.

January 25, 2024

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), It is impossible to begin this week’s message without acknowledging that today is 111 days since the remaining 132 hostages (including about 2 dozen who have died) were brutally abducted by Hamas. We continue to pray for their immediate and safe return, and we mourn the hundreds of Israeli soldiers who have lost their lives during this war. Even as world events weigh heavily on my heart, I am able to focus on welcoming my son and his fiancée Patricia to Boca Raton. Lori and I are looking forward to an amazing visit with them.

January 18, 2024

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), Looking back on this past week, I had many wonderful experiences celebrating my 60th birthday with family and friends. Sadly, my childhood friend’s mother passed away a few hours after my birthday. I sincerely believe she wouldn’t allow herself to pass on my birthday. That is the kind of incredible person she was. My brother and I flew to New York for the funeral and were honored to be pallbearers. Rest in peace dear Esther, Z”L.

January 11, 2024

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), You are receiving this Shabbat message on my 60th birthday, which of course, is putting me in a very reflective mood. I am so grateful for my wife of 35 years, my two children and their families, my mother, and my brother and his family. Family truly is everything, and I very much count my amazing colleagues at our fabulous Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center as family! I feel so blessed to lead this incredible organization and be a part of this wonderful community.

January 4, 2024

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), Lori and I just returned from St. Louis where celebrating the New Year was everything we hoped it would be. Our granddaughter, now 20 months old, is running around, speaking beautifully—it was magic spending time with her and her parents, our children. There’s so much to look forward to as this new year begins: my 60th birthday is coming up on January 11th, our son and his fiancée will be visiting us later this month, and Lori and I are very excited to travel on one of the Levis JCC’s “Jewish Geography” trips to Cuba in March.

December 28, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), This is my very last Shabbat message of 2023. It has been an honor and privilege to communicate with you throughout this past year. It is very important to me that the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center touches you in some way every single week, and I will continue to reach out to our community with a weekly message in the new year. This week, my wife Lori and I will be landing in St. Louis for a quick visit with our daughter and son-in-law, and our precious granddaughter Emi Lou. It will be truly a joy to ring in 2024 with them -- we miss them so very much.

December 21, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), With the holiday season in full swing and a new secular year upon us, Lori and I are really looking forward to visiting our family in St. Louis to celebrate and ring in 2024 with them.

December 14, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), So far this Chanukah, my wife Lori and I haven’t had to light candles without at least one of our children and their families Face-timing with us. It really has made this particular Chanukah extra special. Both of our children are part of interfaith households, and we love seeing how much their non-Jewish partners and children are enjoying lighting the candles with us. Chanukah has a wonderful way of bringing families together and invigorating Jewish pride. At this pivotal moment in Jewish history, that is particularly welcome.

December 7, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), Tonight is the first night of Chanukah -- the Festival of Lights – our Jewish celebration of the Maccabi victory over the larger Greco-Syrian army. As we light our candles this evening, I am so very proud that the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center continues to light the way for our community to come together. During times of joy as well as during challenges, our Levis JCC is the central connecting place for our community.

November 30, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), I am writing this Shabbat message to you from Scottsdale, Arizona, the community I lived in for 7 years before Lori and I relocated to Boca Raton. We are enjoying our time here visiting our son Noah, his fiancée Patricia and our sweet bonus granddaughters, Gabby and Ollie. Though I am on vacation, I never want to miss a Shabbat message. Today is the 7th day of the temporary ceasefire, and thankfully, hostages are still being released. I pray, as I know we all do, that they ALL will return home soon.

November 23, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), This is the second Thanksgiving my wife Lori and I are celebrating here in South Palm Beach County, and I can’t recall 2 years flying by so quickly! We are both so grateful for the beautiful home we have made here, for our new friends, and for all that has been achieved at the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center in such a short time. We are also aware though, that at this time of gathering together to celebrate and give thanks, it is also a time of anxiety and stress for our global Jewish community. It feels important to acknowledge this, as we pause to enjoy our holiday. I am thankful for this community and the great privilege it is to be among its many dedicated leaders.

November 16, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), On Tuesday, like many of you, I watched the live stream of the March for Israel rally, where nearly 300,000 people gathered on Washington, DC’s National Mall in the largest pro-Israel gathering in history. The crowd heard from politicians, celebrities, and family members of hostages, and together lifted their voices to chant “Bring them home!” While I wish I could have attended this historic event, I am so proud of the many friends, colleagues, and South Palm Beach County community members who were there, including Adolph & Rose Levis JCC Board Chair Steve Clarfield and Board Member April Leavy.

November 9, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), More than one month since the worst attack on Israel since the founding of the state in 1948, Israel continues to defend herself. As war rages on, hostages remain captive. There has been a dramatic rise in antisemitism here in the United States and abroad. Our South Palm Beach Country Jewish community continues to find comfort in coming together for meaningful programming presented by our Adolph & Rose Levis JCC, synagogues, and many other wonderful organizations. Being together in community continues to be a source of comfort and of solidarity with Israel and Jewish people everywhere.

November 2, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), These are difficult times. Four agonizing weeks ago, Hamas militants invaded Israel, brutally murdered 1,400 Israelis and took more than 240 hostages. Israel declared war. Antisemitism has reared its ugliness all over the world, including on many college campuses here in the US. So many of us are deeply upset and concerned. Our hearts are heavy, and yet, I am heartened to note that many of us are finding comfort in community, in being together, in standing strong with Israel.

October 26, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), This is now the third week that my Shabbat message comes to you while Israel is at war, and sadly, it seems that it will be some time before the situation is resolved. One thing that provides me comfort is the cooperative and collaborative spirit of our local Jewish agencies and organizations. This week I attended a meeting along with colleagues from our Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, and our Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center to discuss how we can come together to assist Israelis coming to our community to seek safety for their families. We discussed plans to work collaboratively to assist with housing and social services as well as educational and programmatic needs while they stay here with their Jewish family. I hope you find comfort in that as well.

October 19, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), A friend of mine posted “what a year this week has been” on Facebook today. That really resonated with me. Like many of you, I have watched and listened to news reports with great concern about the events unfolding in our beloved Israel. I have spent my entire career working on behalf of the Jewish community and I can say with certainty that I have never been more concerned for Israel’s safety and the safety of Jewish people everywhere, than I am right now. The way that our community has come together in support of our extended Jewish family is a comfort, but there is so much sadness in our collective heart right now. It is at times like these when I reflect on the power of community as a source of light in dark and troubling times.

October 12, 2023

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends), This Shabbat message is like no other I have ever written. As the reality of what happened in Israel this past weekend unravels on news broadcasts and social media each day, I know so many of us are grappling with many emotions. We are worried for our dear families and friends in Israel. The shock is giving way to deep sadness for many of us. Our entire community joins Jews everywhere in unwavering solidarity and support for our brothers and sisters in Israel. We pray for a swift end to this war.