That International Women’s Day and Purim coincide is wonderful and symbolic. Our hero of the Purim story, Esther, risked her life to try to prevent the killing of the Jews of Persia. Today, we salute the many women who take risks on so many levels to protect, defend and promote good health, empowerment and equality for women everywhere; women who speak up and continue to speak out despite the uncivil and even hateful responses of men here in the United States; women who fight for equal treatment and religious tolerance in Israel; women who are working on behalf of their children and their families to make life better every day.
On this day, we express our gratitude and our encouragement that you continue to fight for what you believe in and for that which gives your life and your community’s life meaning, value, and goodness. On this day, I salute in particular the women of the San Francisco based Jewish Community Federation, and all Federations, who comprise 80% of its workforce and a fraction of its executive leadership, and praise the wonderful work you do every day to protect our vulnerable, to educate and engage our children, to provide for Jews in need in Israel and wherever they are in the world, and to make the world a better place. I encourage you to seek the highest levels of leadership in our community to help to shape a world that is truly b’tzelem elohim – in the divine image, one that reflects the best in us all.
We have come so far, and yet we have so much yet to do throughout our world to overcome abject poverty, violence, trafficking, other forms of degradation and oppression, religious intolerance, biases in our workplaces and in our societies. Let us seek empowerment, safety, optimum health, financial independence and leadership for all women, that our societies may one day be truly just.