CEO's Monthly Message
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg brought tears to many eyes this week, including mine, with her touching post about the sudden and untimely loss of her husband Dave Goldberg and the completion of sheloshim - the Jewish 30-day ritual mourning period. Sandberg notes at the beginning of her post, that "when tragedy occurs it presents a choice". She goes on to describe in detail how, despite the pain, and through "living thirty years in thirty days" she is choosing life; to take things one day at a time, and to live as her husband would have wanted. But she admits rather poignantly that it is not easy. She confided in a friend that she did not want to deal with the option left her; she wanted her husband back. The friend offered some sage wisdom, "Plan A is not an option, so let's kick the sh** out of Plan B".
This simple and heartfelt advice rang true with me on many levels. There are 1001 clichés in the English language alone about "playing the hand you are dealt", etc. Sandberg's friend hit the mark beautifully. As difficult as it may be, you have to deal with reality. This got me thinking that there are many parallels which can be drawn to what faces the Jewish community in the twenty-first century.
As a community, we faced the greatest challenge in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Like Sheryl Sandberg, the survivors were faced with a choice. They chose life. As a community and as a people, we chose to look forward. As a result, we created the State of Israel, fortified our communities in the United States and prospered. We met the greatest of all challenges with resolve. So why not now?
Many of my monthly messages have focused on our collective challenges. To ignore them would be foolhardy. But to become prisoners of them would be even worse. Is our world perfect? Is Israel's neighborhood calm? Is assimilation no longer a problem? Are the Jews in Ukraine safe? Do all elderly Jews live in comfort? Can every Jewish child's parents afford summer camp? We know the answer is no to all of these questions. If it were yes, we would be living the dream of Plan A. We have to take Sheryl's friend's advice and choose kick the sh** out of plan B in order to get the job done. Collectively (or dare I say better together), we can do it. Let's all start now.
James A. Cohen