September 2012 / Tishrei 5773
One of our most distinct commandments during the high-holiday season is to spend time in a Sukkah, a temporary hut adorned with the riches of a bountiful harvest. Whether you eat meals, socialize, or even sleep in a Sukkah, the message we are taught is that the Sukkah is a symbol of protection from the elements. While the physical walls may seem flimsy, the communal strength residing within provides the security we need. The unity of our faith is the ultimate and most enduring protection we have.
As The Jewish Agency for Israel enters the New Year, I am proud to see that we embody, more than ever, the values we celebrate inside the Sukkah, and that many find sustenance within our programmatic “walls”: Soldiers from the Diaspora who have come on their own to defend Israel can find a strong support system to help adjust to life after discharge; doctors who have immigrated from the former Soviet Union can resume their medical careers with minimal interruption and, along the way, help Israel overcome its shortage of physicians; young volunteers from Israel and abroad gain emotional strength and inspiration from one another as they assist vulnerable populations in developing nations; and a group of Jewish Agency emissaries in France can tap the power of social media to touch hundreds of thousands worldwide with a sensational New Year greeting.
It is with great satisfaction for our accomplishments during the past year and great excitement for the year ahead that I wish you all a Shana Tovah!