Do you know Yitzy? In an old Jewish joke, he meets Monday nights with a group of elderly Jewish men. Usually, they talk about world affairs, and the tone is often negative. But one day Yitzy shocks his friends: “I’ve become an optimist,” he declares.

They are stunned, until Benny speaks up: “If you’re an optimist, Yitzy, why do you look so worried.”

And Yitzy says: “You think it’s easy being an optimist?” I SMILE because I know the feeling, especially when I ponder where the Jewish community will find its next generation of leaders. But the fact is, I am an optimist, and here’s why.