For many people the end of 2020 could not have come fast enough. Who could have ever imagined that last year, when we were ringing in the new year with family and friends, that so much would change in just a few months. With 2020 came a global pandemic that caused so many of us to lose family and friends and wonder when it will be safe enough for families to see their grandparents again.
As I celebrated the beginning of 2021 at midnight, it would have been easy for me to just write off last year as a terrible year and not look back. Instead, I chose to reflect on all the good that happened throughout the pandemic. I did not need to make a New Year’s resolution to spend more time with my family or slow down, because the world already did that for me. I did not need to resolve to appreciate my job because not having one for a few months did that for me. I took time to have a continued appreciation for all the hard work that my children’s teachers do every day and to reconnect with lifelong friends. I celebrated many Jewish milestones with friends and family through Zoom, which helped me appreciate the true meanings of our traditions, and not just the parties that go with them.
In a year where so much was lost with so many unthinkable challenges, it was so uplifting to see how much our community came together. I can truly say that one of the things that kept me going during the first few months of the pandemic was the strength of our Jewish community and seeing how people came together in times of need. My involvement in the Jewish Federation helped give me a sense of purpose and truly appreciate all we can accomplish together. This holiday season my family and I participated in Mitzvah Days. The Federation was able to bring the community together to help fill wish lists for children at the Grassroots Crises Center, cook casseroles and prepare lunches for clients of the Elizabeth House, create Mugs of Love for Meals on Wheels, and donate to Small Miracles Pet Rescue, as well as Success in Style. One of the things I appreciate most about Mitzvah Days is teaching my children the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam. As we move on to 2021, we will continue to serve those in need. The Federation will be participating in a MLK day of service later this month, where we are creating opportunities to buy and donate food to those who are in need. We will also continue our successful monthly Mitzvah Meals programs to support Grassroots.
As I look forward to 2021, I see this as a year of hope and possibility. With the COVID vaccine now available, I am hopeful that we will all be able to get together and see one another soon. I am also hopeful we will use the lessons we learned from the pandemic and continue to adapt and change. Your Federation will continue to strive to make positive change in the Jewish community as we transition from managing a pandemic in the community to focusing on how we can continue to reach and connect with as many people as possible.
What we learned from 2020 is that we can overcome anything when we know we are part of a community that cares. Thank you for all you have done to rise to the occasion this year and for your continued generosity.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.