I write this message on a tragic day for America as we remember those murdered nineteen years ago. Among those killed was my childhood neighbor, Todd Hill, and thousands more. I cried this morning as I watched the ceremony at Ground Zero and I will never forget watching the Towers fall while sitting around a television in the Federation’s former offices on McKee Place. May all those heroes who lost their lives continue to be a blessing and may all their families continue to be comforted by all Americans.
Fast forward to today. So many people are writing on social media about the current year, 2020, as one of pandemics, fires, hurricanes, heat waves, murder hornets and who knows what else can come during the last three months of this year. Until next Friday, 2020 has coincided with 5780, the Jewish year closing in one week when we celebrate Rosh Hashana.
It is really easy and natural to look at what has transpired and see all the “darkness”. Routines have been disrupted. Some have lost their lives. Some are struggling with their mental and/or physical health. Jobs have vanished.
Even through all the hurt and suffering, I work to remain a “glass half full” kind of person and focus on the positive.
What amazed me during this period has been our Jewish community’s resilience and response. Our agencies immediately pivoted in March to new ways of doing business from delivering online education, converting food pickups to food deliveries to those in need, providing counseling services remotely, locking down facilities to keep residents safe, and engaging members of our community in Jewish life and connecting them one to the other. It was stunning! Our Federation’s support of our eight local beneficiary agencies and two overseas partners through our Community Campaign gave them the ability to shift resources to where they needed them most. And Federation, thanks to some special donors, was able to push out an additional $1.3 Million in COVID relief grants to local Jewish institutions to assist them with increased and unbudgeted expenses.
I know that the beginning of 5781 will be filled with continuing challenges as we navigate our way through the continuance of the pandemic. It will not be easy as we confront difficult choices. Yet I have comfort in knowing the strength of our community. If our recent experiences show us anything, it is that we have the ability to confront that which is difficult and painful and unite together to take care of one another.
This is my final message before Rosh Hashana. I wish all of us health, happiness, the warmth of family and the ability to reach for the positive even in very challenging times.
Shabbat Shalom. Shanah Tova.