Today marked another milestone for me personally and for the Gift of Life organization. At noon today, voting closed for the Jewish Community Hero Award, for which I was a nominee. When the Jewish Federations of North America declared the voting closed, I had accumulated 25,486 votes! What an incredible feeling! In all honesty, it wasn’t enough to land me in first place, but it was enough to get me near the top of the leader board and enough to keep me there. Ultimately, it isn’t about the number of votes though, because this competition isn’t over yet. Now it goes to the panel of judges who will review the work of each of the top twenty semi-finalists. It is the job of the judges to evaluate the following criteria:

1. Does the nominee show exceptional qualities and commitment in line with the mission of Jewish Federations of North America, strengthening the Jewish community, and the ideals of tikkun olam, and

2. Has the nominee complied with the rules of the Jewish Community Heroes campaign?

I know that the Gift of Life organization fulfills the mitzvah of tikkun olam (repairing the world) with every search that is run on behalf of a patient in need; every new donor that is tested and is counted in the registry; every donor’s hand that is held during collection by one of our Work-up Coordinators. The world is made a better place each and every day because we save lives, plain and simple.

So, it’s just a matter of whether the judges will see the same things that I see. All they have to do is to take a look at Gift of Life’s Facebook page – 50,000 members strong and read some of the lively conversation that occurs every day.

I am so thankful for the people that surround me and keep me going. I feel like I’ve already won because of the support I feel from my family and friends, the Gift of Life Board of Directors, every staff member, our donors, recipients, volunteers and supporters. There would be no Gift of Life if it wasn’t for all of you. The connection you each feel for something so close to my heart is immeasurable, but you constantly show me through your words and actions.
Not only that, but I am truly proud of the way in which we portrayed Gift of Life. We played fairly with sportsmanlike conduct, respect and admiration for our fellow nominees, many of whom I call friends. Every person that was nominated has a purpose to the work that he or she does. That is the spirit of what this Award is all about.

And so, now we leave our fate in the hands of the judges. It’s definitely time to reflect on the awesome job that we have and continue to do. I have experienced the life of a politician and think I’ll stay right where I am. It’s time to keep our thoughts positive and to keep our fingers crossed!
My eternal gratitude and admiration to everyone involved in any way with Gift of Life!

Jay

 

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