The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia strongly condemns hate speech in our community and throughout the world. When anti-Semitic hate speech was expressed by Temple University Professor Marc Lamont Hill, we immediately took action with national and local partners. We have and will continue to condemn comments that reject the state of Israel and the Jewish connection to our homeland.

All your questions for Naomi Adler, Esq., answered! This week’s question:

What was your toughest career decision and how did you get through?

One of the most difficult and complicated career decisions I’ve ever made was when I moved from Rochester, New York, where I was a prosecutor, to start my “new life” with my incredible husband. Brian had just finished his training as a rabbi at Hebrew Union College, and we married just one week after ordination. Rabbis typically start their first job in July and move to wherever that first job takes them.

When we became engaged, we had a series of life-changing conversations, including one that involved a question I think every person should ask themselves (or be asked by a loved one!) every few years: If you could not do what you are doing now, what else could you do to help repair the world?

I’m still amazed at how quickly the answer occurred to me. At the time, in my work with Rochester’s Special Victims Unit, I was steeped in a world of poverty, violence and community issues that I passionately wanted to change. So the answer sprung to my lips: I wanted to lead a nonprofit that would truly improve the lives of women and children. I knew then I would spend the next few years learning new skills while also learning the love and challenges of my other life’s work as a wife and mother.

The Talmud says if you change your makom you change your mazel: that by changing your place, you change your fortunes. Just like Abraham was required to physically move from his birthplace in order to make a spiritual move, sometimes a brand-new landscape helps you get out of the rut of old thinking and connect with what you truly want and need. Of course, moving to New Jersey isn’t exactly journeying to Canaan. But the shift forced me to self-evaluate in ways I hadn’t before.

Change is never easy, but I knew I was making the right decision for me. I started making a plan to reroute my life’s path. I’ve never looked back and I remain grateful every day that it led me to this incredible Philadelphia community.

Shabbat Shalom,

Naomi