Last week I had a wonderful experience — I joined with 6700 other Reform Jews and attended the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial which was held in the Washington DC area. The various activities at the biennial were incredibly inspirational; however, that’s not what I am going to write about. Since we were in the center of the political universe, so to speak, we were addressed by various politicians and international figures, among them, Ehud Barak, Natan Sharansky, Eric Cantor, and the most amazing of all, PRESIDENT OBAMA. His speech is available on U-Tube and also on the http://www.urj.org website.
The http://www.TOS50.com website attracts primarily the baby-boomer generation and older seniors who are not intimidated by the Internet. Having a front-row seat, so to speak, to look at and listen to the President of the United States addressing a very large crowd of liberal Jews was an incredible experience for me. I couldn’t help but think back to how short a time had passed since the President of the United States thought it was not in his best interests to rescue a ship load of Jewish people trying to escape certain death at the hands of Hitler. When I graduated high school, years later, attending an Ivy League college was not an option. The quota system prevalent in colleges and universities across the country was designed to keep most Jews out. A few of the elite among us were able to crack that barrier, but most of my Jewish contemporaries attended local schools or state schools where we were more accepted. Queens College is my alma mater — and, on the positive side, it was FREE. My uncle graduated at the top of his class from Cooper Union and was unable to find a job as an engineer because, at that time, no one hired Jewish engineers. He instead worked in the New York City Civil Service System as a City Inspector.
So here we are, within our own lifetime, having lived through overt anti-Semitism, to now seeing that the President of the United States believes we are important enough to warrant an in-person visit. That’s amazing! How fortunate we all are to be living in this great country, which has allowed us to achieve our dreams and fulfill our potential. How far have we come? This is the time of year when we Jews remember the Miracle of Chanukah, and it’s important for us to do that; but for our generation there is another miracle: for us the miracle is the number of Jewish students currently attending Ivy League Colleges.
It is time for us to give thanks to the generations that came before us and in the spirit of their memory to help those who have yet to achieve their own miracle.
Featured on http://www.tos50.com this week is an “End of the Year Lament” by former Mayor Ed Koch: http://tos50.com/news. Mayor Koch, as always, speaks his mind. Also of interest, Green Jenine interviews Fran Metzger, the Recycling Coordinator for New Jersey’s Monmouth County – learn how to shop environmentally so you can make a difference in 2012: http://tos50.com/video/environmental-shopping.
We still have some great buys in our TOS50 E-Store. A new, very attractive item, is our beaded Autism Bracelet. For only $13.50 you have an opportunity to support families of autistic children, while wearing a colorful and attractive bracelet: http://tos50.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/autism-bracelet.
Have a great week.
Sandy Tankoos, President and Founder