I just returned from a study tour to Israel with Bronx elected officials, community leaders, and clergy, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. The goal was to:
see Israel through each other’s eyes
connect to issues that we are also facing in the Bronx
develop and strengthen relationships between us so we can be better partners in addressing challenges back home.
For the Riverdale Y, two of our core values focus on building and strengthening community and our responsibility to care for one another.
We do this every day inside our walls, through our programs spanning early childhood to older adults and all points in between and that range from educational to physical to spiritual. Some of you may not be as familiar with our work beyond our walls as the convener of our Riverdale Jewish Community Partnership with local Jewish institutions and as an active participant in interfaith and intergroup relations work with neighborhood organizations. This relational work is part of our emerging Center for Social Responsibility and is fundamental to who we are as a Jewish Community Center.
I was so glad that the Y could be part of this study tour to Israel. It was an important step in bridging communities within our own borough to get a clearer picture of each other and our respective needs. Rabbi Barry Dov Katz noted the irony of having to travel all the way to Israel to get to know some of our fellow Bronx leaders. But in so doing, we have opened the door for greater understanding and partnership in the future.
Matt Abrams Gerber
Chief Operating Officer