After a long, hot summer, I eagerly embrace the subtle change in season upon us now. The cool refreshing evenings, the shortened days, the crunch of leaves on the driveway reground me as autumn beckons. Since I grew up on the East Coast, for me these sights and sounds are inextricably associated with the High Holidays and the return to a familiar time of year filled with ritual, reconnecting me with my heritage. I love the changing seasons and the different perspectives one has seeing the same landscape in full bloom, stark and covered with snow or bursting with early spring buds. Similar to how my visual perspective changes with the seasons, my emotional perspective changes during holiday season. I become more introspective and start to think about how I can help make a difference in my community, both local and abroad.
This Rosh Hashanah, as I embrace the new year of 5777, I am also embracing my new role as President of the Jewish Federation of Howard County. In a very short time, I have gained a different perspective of our Jewish community and our deep caring and connection to one another. After the terrible tragedy of the Ellicott City flood, I was incredibly moved and proud as our Jewish community sprang into action to help our friends and neighbors. Business owners were offered alternative space from which to work. Some worked side by side to remove debris. Others provided both emotional and financial support, raising over $6500 in just 30 days. Another touch point occurred when members of our community became concerned about an anti-Israel display placed in a Howard County library branch. The community reached out to Federation in shock and dismay, asking us to take a stand for truth.
Through these two events, I was reminded that Federation matters to Howard County. We help support the rich fabric of a Jewish Howard County and have already sponsored a number of events designed to engage and support all segments of our community. We continue to support those with emergency financial needs and those in need of social services. We help educate about Israel, teach Hebrew and create environments where we can share our common heritage. So, as we prepare for Rosh Hashanah and relish in traditions, family and community, please take a moment to think about those who are less fortunate. Be generous in your support of fellow Jews and give generously to our Annual Campaign. Together, we can help provide a sweeter and happier New Year for all.