February 2019

My Two Shekels


By Michael Jeser

If you are anything like me, or like millions of others around the world, you recently made “New Year’s Resolutions” to use in 2019. While many Jews make resolutions to become better versions of ourselves around Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, we get another bite of the proverbial apple and get to make amended or new resolutions this time of year. Ancient Jewish wisdom offers some sage advice for helping us accomplish these goals. A Jewish life, “anchored in the rhythms of the year, can help us set benchmarks and assess our progress. The flow of the year is literally built on the tides of renewal.” (MyJewishLearning.org).

It seems to me that making resolutions is the easy part. The hard part, though, is sticking to them. Is it uncommon for us to find ourselves reconsidering our commitments within months or even days of having made them? I know that has happened to me on more than one occasion.

So, while I personally resolve to be a healthier, more patient, kinder person, I simply don’t know yet whether I will have the determination to make all of the necessary adjustments to make that a reality. And, yet, I am excited about the prospect of jogging more, getting to the gym, being sweeter to my wife, and putting my phone down when with my family at home. Personally, I expect this to be the best year yet.

This year, however, I am trying something different. In addition to my personal resolutions, I also want to declare a number of organizational resolutions on behalf of the Jewish Federation — resolutions and commitments I am making to you, our donors, our partners, and to members of this Jewish community. I expect you to hold me to these resolutions just as I expect to hold myself and my team to realizing these commitments.

Resolution 1

We resolve to provide you with the opportunity to feel proud about your involvement with Jewish life in San Diego. Yes, we know you want to do good. But we also want you to feel good about doing good. Ultimately, we hope you will come away from your engagement with Federation with a deep and lasting sense of pride about what you are doing. That is a win-win for the community and for those in need.

Resolution 2

We resolve to be an even greater source of inspiration behind the notion that together, we can do so much more than we can do alone. This notion celebrates the value of UNITY and the potential our collective impact can make as we come together for the good of the entire community. Federation has long believed in this, but we hope you will feel even more inspired this year by our collective potential to help Jews in need and build community.

Resolution 3

We resolve to be more open to and to listen better to the hopes and dreams, concerns, feelings, and opinions that you want to share with us. As you interact with the Federation, we expect that you will feel heard and respected as valued members of this community.

Resolution 4

We resolve to do a better job helping you see, feel, and know of the tremendous impact your philanthropic support and involvement has. We want to do a better job making it clear how YOU are enriching our Jewish community as well as Jewish communities around the world so that YOU feel connected to the impact you make possible.

Resolution 5

We resolve to help you feel connected to the community in whatever ways are most meaningful and relevant to you! If you are passionate about caring for others, about the future of the Jewish community, or about belonging to a global Jewish family around the world, we hope you will feel a greater sense of belonging and connection through your involvement with Federation.

On behalf of the Jewish Federation, I want to wish you a happy and impactful 2019!

My Two Shekels is the title for stories and reflections from Federation’s President and CEO, Michael Jeser, about his own Jewish journeys, Federation’s impact, and Jewish communities worldwide. It has been reprinted here with permission.


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