The Hard Things

Campaign 2015 continues to move forward during our 100 Days of Impact. Over 400 individuals and families have made their commitment to this year’s campaign and close to $1.2 million has been raised. All in just 10 days -- thank you!

Next month, the entire Jewish community is invited to join us for “roaring great times” at the Jewish Federation Gala on October 25. This 1920s themed evening is a can’t miss event. Plus, a little party never hurt nobody. Make sure you join us for a fun-filled night.

Here we are, the time for the Jewish High Holidays. These 10 Days of Awe, the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, offer all of us the opportunity to become better people and to make our community a better place -- now and for generations to come. It is a time for reflection and a “reality check” about one’s own personal and professional self. 

This past weekend, someone asked me what I do for a living. I explained to them my position at the Jewish Federation and they responded, “I would never want your job.” I inquired more, because I happen to love my job and the work that we do. They shared, “It must be so frustrating and sounds impossible.” I smiled at the person and replied that the “hard things are what makes it so special.”

On my office bulletin board is a print out of an email someone sent to me. It is Dan Waldschmidt’s “You Have to do the Hard Things.” It is a list of the challenges and struggles we all face, whether in our personal or professional lives. I believe this is a strong message as we begin the New Year.

  • You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  • You have to make the call you are afraid to make.
  • You have to care more about others than they may care about you.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you -- yet.
  • You have to grind out the details when it is easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to make mistakes and look/feel like an idiot.
  • You have to try and fail and try again.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what is in front of you.

You have to do the hard things. The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on. Those are the things that define you.

Welcome to the challenges of the Jewish world. Community building is hard. Change is hard. And, most of all, making tough decisions understanding the potential implications is hard. In concert with volunteer leaders, the Jewish Federation does its best each and every day to make a positive impact on our Jewish community. Oftentimes, we see the immediate results of those decisions. Others take time. In the end, we are solely focused on enhancing and strengthening Jewish life for generations to come.

With Rosh Hashanah starting this evening, each of us, personally and communally, are asked to search our souls to reflect on what we have accomplished and what we can do better; to rejoice in our relationships with family, friends and colleagues; make reparations to those we have hurt by our words, actions or deeds; and rededicate ourselves to beginning 5775 as more caring and compassionate people. This is our opportunity and obligation.

Click here for a listing of the various High Holiday services throughout Portland. I encourage everyone to find their own synagogue, space and community in which to observe the holidays. 

Best wishes for a very happy and healthy New Year to you and your family. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year and not allow the hard things to stand in your way.

L’shanah Tovah Tikatevu!



Add Comment