From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With gratitude 12/18/20

Good-bye 2020! This year, we saw the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, a worldwide pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of U.S. lives alone and sent our economy into a tailspin, a divisive U.S. presidential election like no other, and nationwide unrest as we struggle to define ourselves in a new era of equality and racism sparked by the murder of George Floyd. I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted.

To juxtapose the chaos of 2020, allow me to take a moment and share what, from my perspective, are some of the brighter spots this year held and some of the things for which I am most grateful. It might sound trite, but modern video technology is top of my list of things that have been valuable in 2020. For many, Zoom fatigue is real, but we would not have functioned in this year of isolation – to hold meetings, gatherings, services and family get-togethers – without this technology. 

Good health: If you are fortunate enough to have your health, this is the time to give thanks. I pray that our community gets to the other side of the COVID crisis without any more major outbreaks. With all the darkness of this time, a bright spot for me is hearing the countless stories of Americans pitching in to help one another. Generosity of spirit is the antidote for isolation and despair. Despite all the divisiveness, I am so very grateful to live in this generous country that enjoys so many freedoms.

On the home-front, there is much for which to give thanks. Most notable is that the pandemic has forced the pace of my life to slow down. No longer rushing out of the house every morning to get to work, I enjoy chatting with my kids over breakfast and sharing a laugh or two during the day. Both of my progeny are in their early 20s and I treasure this time we share. I know someday they will leave the nest for good. 

Lastly, the Federation seems to be weathering this year in good shape. We have a board that is committed to raising funds and distributing them in a responsible fashion. The Reporter, Jewish Family Service and Federation staff have all worked hard during this difficult time and have not missed a beat when it came to transitioning to work from home. I am immensely grateful for all of their professionalism. The Campaign for 2021 is not as robust as we would have wanted, but in these uncertain times I am pleased with the progress we have made. Thank you to all that have pledged. 

We have managed to hold several successful virtual events this year. Most recently, we hosted the former Israel ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, for a Zoom conversation about his new book, “The Night Archer and Other Stories.” My thanks to Dora Polachek for her wonderful moderating skills and for all who attended to make it a success. 

As we close this year with Chanukah, let us all remember that we can always transform the dark into light. I am sending you all my best wishes for a safe and happy year to come.