Shabbat Shalom: Continued Strength and Faith

Feb 29, 2024 | Article

By: Willie Recht
Chief Development Officer

Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) recently told a group that this will be the hardest year that we, as Jewish communal professionals, have ever faced. Almost 5 months ago to the day, we awoke to the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. Not only have we been grieving for the lives we have lost, but we have had to face – at least in my lifetime – an unprecedented rise in hate from much of the outside world, and sadly, a deafening silence from those we thought our friends. It has been sad. It has been scary. And it had been lonely.

But this did not start on October 7th. Over the last decade, the ADL has tracked an unprecedented rise in antisemitic attacks. Pogrom-style beatings of Jews in the streets of major American and European cities, protestors on the steps of the United States Capitol with swastika patches and sweatshirts that read “six million was not enough”; and even more destructive perhaps, “politically acceptable” acts of antisemitism hidden under the calling of anti-Zionism. Just this week thousands have signed onto an “uncommitted pledge” due to our government’s support of Israel, and locally, our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) helped defeat – thank G-d – the repeal of anti-BDS legislation passed with JEWISHcolorado support over 8 years ago.

One could ask what is going on. And perhaps you might be asking why I mention all of this in a piece that is supposed to reflect the weekly parsha. Well, as I attempted to prepare for this, I came to find that this week’s Parsha, Ki Tisa, describes a time when G-d seemed to have given up on the Israelites when Moses’s vision seemed insurmountable. Seem familiar?

But it is not just in our modern day when one could argue that G-d has given up on our people. We can look across centuries and throughout history; the Jewish people have remained true to the covenant of their ancestors. Through persecution, humiliation, torture, and murder we have not given up, despite at times G-d’s seeming invisibility from our people. From the Spanish Inquisition, through the Pogroms and the Holocaust to our present day. We have not lost faith.

Scholar Katia Bolotin explains this paradox when describing that when we remain committed while faced with what appears to be abandonment, G-d reveals that G-d was always with us, even when G-d appeared hidden.

King Solomon taught us, “For everything there is a season, and time for every purpose under heaven”. So, what is this season? And why is it upon us? That I do not know. But as we are taught in Ki Tisa, and what history confirms, is that we can make it through. It will be hard, and it may get worse. The Torah warns us that at times, G-d may not come to our immediate aid, and it may appear G-d has left us. But G-d is only hiding (hester panim).

It will be lonely, and the difficulty will likely continue but we must not, we cannot give up. Personally, or collectively, as organizations and institutions we cannot lose faith. The stakes are too high for us and generations after us.

May we be blessed with continued strength and faith and a peaceful week to come. Shabbat Shalom.

Please email Willie Recht at with questions or comments.