WHIM (What Inspires Me) is a weekly post by Cathy Gardner, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. Each week Cathy will discuss current events, important news stories and all things related to Jewish Federations and the Dayton Jewish community.
The Good Old Days
“Your Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration was so wonderful. It reminded me of the good old days!” This comment from a passionate and engaged community member keeps reverberating in my mind. For one, I am incredibly happy this person enjoyed our celebration this past Sunday. We had an amazing day. Over 210 people joined us for an afternoon of music, children’s activities, mosaics, dancing and delicious authentic Israeli cuisine. And to set a festive atmosphere, we decorated our room to look like Independence Hall in Tel Aviv. It was the perfect way to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday.
The second reason I keep thinking about this statement is because it is a staunch reminder that the Dayton Jewish community is strong. I often hear stories about the community of the past. Dayton was a model Jewish community. People were involved. Activities were plenty. And the sense of community was profound. However, as happens in life, things change. Demographics change. People move. Priorities shift. And we must adjust to these changes.
Even though there are many changes happening around us, some things remain constant. The passion and desire in our community is one of those constants. The excitement and sense of community was strong on Sunday. It was inspiring to see people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying our community’s celebration. And we have so many passionate and involved lay leaders and volunteers.
On Sunday, April 8th hundreds of people came out for the Yom Hashoah Remembrance program, which honored and remembered victims of the Holocaust. On April 9th, the Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council partnered with The Dayton Art Institute for Peace by Piece: Art as a Catalyst for Social Justice. This event brought together people of various faiths, including Israeli artist Miri Golan, who spoke of connecting people through artistic expression. And on April 17th, the Jewish Film Festival kicked off with nearly 200 people flocking to the Greene for the opening film Bye Bye Germany (the festival continues through May 10th).
We have an abundance of activities going on at any given time. Whether through the Federation, its’ agencies, local synagogues or other Jewish organizations, there is always something happening, no matter your interest. Our Dayton Jewish community is not only alive and well, but we are thriving.