From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With Gratitude 9/23/22

By Shelley Hubal

I will never forget standing in the hotel room and saying, “I don’t want to do this.” Then Mark and Rae wrapped me in their arms while I sobbed. That was the morning of my father’s funeral in 2019. The grief was overwhelming, and so was the tenderness and love from my husband and child. 

Later that day, as we stood on the wet ground in the cemetery, I found myself standing next to my father-in-law, Gerry. Mark was lost in the crush of family and friends, and I could not find him. Somehow Gerry knew what I needed. I will never forget how he squeezed my hand without a word as they lowered the casket in the ground. Another act of immense grief followed by overwhelming lovingkindness. My soul was both broken and full of love at the same time.

The depth of overwhelming emotions like grief has no limits. It can feel as if you are caught in a terrible storm with no way out, but pain is transformative. How we react to difficult challenges is what defines our lives. If you allow yourself to move through the vulnerability one moment at a time, ultimately a connection to something greater will happen. You realize that you are far stronger than you ever imagined and that your compassion for others has no limits.

This is the time of year when the Jewish people reflect on the past and look toward the future. We yearn to be closer to God. We yearn to do better and be better. This is an imperfect world, and we are all imperfect people, but there is a flow to life and, if you simply trust that flow, you realize that God is carrying you. For you are not the storm, but the entire sky. 
I am wishing you all a l’shanah tovah tikateivu v’teichateimu.