Wonder Woman & Authenticity


 A Message from Arlene Miller, President & CEO

A few weeks ago, I read a story in JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) about Gal Gadot (the Israeli star of the blockbuster movie Wonder Woman) that really struck me. Gadot had recently responded on Facebook to a note from a 7-year-old girl lamenting the lack of Wonder Woman merchandise in Israeli stores. It was a sweetly personal response with the feeling of validation and encouragement a parent might offer their own child, let alone an unknown fan.

The thing about the exchange that especially touched me was its authenticity. In a world where scandals abound about athletes using performance-altering drugs and lip-synching is the norm for popular singers, we can become accustomed to peoples’ facades. So, when we see fictional heroes and heroines going above and beyond in real life, it can be especially heartwarming.

We can all put up facades of one sort or another, and to varying degrees. We often portray what we want to be, fearing exposing our flaws and vulnerabilities. However, I’d argue that the best of us can emerge when we comport ourselves be’emet (Hebrew for “in truth, with honesty”). When we act with realness we become relatable – and in relating to others, we connect. And, I’ll take it one step further: In connecting with others, we tap into our sense of empathy and compassion (Rachmanut).

Imagine the possibilities for our community if we recognized when we might drop our figurative Wonder Woman shields and instead act more like Gal Gadot. Imagine acting more generously towards one another. One act of kindness might inspire another…and another after that. What we might find is a better, more caring and compassionate world.

Shabbat Shalom,

 Alene Millier

 Arlene Miller


Leya and ArleneP.S. On my recent trip to Israel on a Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) leadership mission, I had the privilege of meeting Leya, part of the Ethiopian National Project (also known as ENP SPACE). Thanks to your support, and that of Jewish communities from throughout North America, ENP SPACE helps Ethiopian students to close the scholarship gap with their peers and advances their integration into Israeli society. When I asked Leya, a beautiful and confident 17-year-old who came to Israel at age 5, what she wants to do when she finishes school, she responded, “I’m going to be in Hollywood.” With the doors and opportunities opened by ENP SPACE, Leya has a chance to make her dreams a reality – perhaps even as the next Wonder Woman.





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