I’ve met many wonderful people this year, and they’ve enhanced my life in lots of measurable an immeasurable ways. I want to introduce you to someone I work with: Uri. Uri is an American Jew of Ethiopian descent and has worked for the Jewish Agency for 29 years; his brother worked for us before him. Imagine giving 29 years of your life to an organization? That’s a lot of loyalty. And it’s rare to find these days.
Uri plays many different, critical roles in this organization. He works in the mailroom and also picks up our visiting guests but has always been flexible in helping us no matter what the need. Uri often picks me up from the airport during busy travel times. If Uri is picking me up, I’m met with a warm smile and a genuinely caring personality.
Sometimes you work with people for years, and you know very little about them. Sometimes you learn something about them that makes you rethink everything you know about them. I learned something about Uri. He and his wife raised three Jewish children, and his son Joel just left last week for his third tour of duty in Iraq. Joel repairs artillery, often in places of battle.
I want to take a few minutes to salute Joel’s commitment to the United States and to our safety. Every Shabbat, synagogues around the world include prayers for our governments, our soldiers and the soldiers of Israel. It’s a very old Jewish tradition. Uri, we pray for Joel’s safe return. May he not come in harm’s way, and may God watch over his patriotic service and bring all our soldiers home soon.
Take time to get to know someone in your office or someone you volunteer with. There are many miracle makers and heroes among us. We just need to take the time to find out.
Dr. Misha Galperin is President & CEO of the Jewish Agency International