Parashat Va-et'chanan

August 12, 2022Julia Wackenheim, WRJ North American Board Executive Committee, Member At Large

This week's Torah portion is Parashat Va-et'chanan. In this section, Moses pleads with G-d to let him enter the Promised Land and is denied; he tells the Israeli people they must follow the Ten Commandments if they are to live in the Promised Land and that they must not worship any G-d but him.

What spoke to me most about these Va-et'chanan excerpts is the idea of bestowing all of our knowledge to future generations, even though we may not physically benefit from it during our time on earth. Spiritually, knowing that there's a chance "the kids are going to be alright" helps me stay centered in an unbalanced world. I hold fast to the idea that what I pass along or model for others will allow for a better world, a Promised Land, for generations to come—the future's children.

 Easy to say, but sometimes hard to do, right? I often find myself looking at various social justice issues that pull at my heart - and all need attention and advocacy. What is one to do? What is most important? Sometimes that feels like an impossible choice, and I turn into a statue. Luckily, WRJ makes the ability to practice future Tikkun Olam easy for those of us that are sometimes at a loss or are frozen in these tumultuous times. How? WRJ's YES Fund and the Ner Tamid Society give our members the opportunity to continue the richness of its tenets: Sisterhood, Spirituality, and Social Justice.

WRJ's commitment to strengthening the Reform Movement can be seen in the YES Fund. WRJ provides grants through its YES (Youth, Education, and Special Projects) Fund and additional grants for social good through general funding. Some of the programs the YES Fund support include: Kol Koleinu (advocacy training for high school students who identify as feminists), NFTY Teen Leadership Programs, DEI (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion) Programming at Leo Baek in Haifa, HUC-JIR Scholarships, World Union of Progressive Judaism Prayer Leader Training, hiring a Legislative Assistant at the RAC (Religious Action Center), Early Childhood Education in Reform Judaism, and many more.

Recently, WRJ added a DEI grant to the YES Fund and has announced its new DEI grantees for 2022-2023. Some of those organizations are Avodah (providing opportunities for folks identifying as Jews of Color), Lunar (Jewish Asian Film Project), and Jewtina (an organization nurturing the Latin-Jewish community via cohort experiences, storytelling, learning resources, and workshops.

How can I support the YES Fund in the future? A Lifeline! If you contribute to the WRJ YES Fund Lifeline, the annual interest directly supports the YES Fund, and you help to ensure it endures from generation to generation. By starting a Lifeline, you can help future generations carry on empowering women and communities through the bonds of sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice. I proudly wear my Pearl Lifeline at every opportunity, knowing that my contribution will help fund future generations after I am gone.

Another way to ensure your legacy and the health of the Reform Movement is with WRJ's Ner Tamid Society.  To become a member, you can make a planned gift. There are many ways to do this: you can add WRJ to a will, make WRJ a beneficiary of an IRA, pension, retirement account, life insurance account, or a charitable remainder trust. By doing this, you will ensure WRJ's legacy, secure the future of the Reform Movement, and receive recognition and honors from WRJ. 

While the world may seem like it is often falling apart, and it may feel scary to leave it to future generations, you can follow in Moses' footsteps to impart Tikkun Olam for the future. Whatever that may mean to you, WRJ's YES Fund and Ner Tamid Society are two impactful ways to help the Reform Movement live on. L'Dor V'Dor (from generation to generation).

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