Updated: Jan 28, 2022
In his book Man’s Quest for God, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, “Only one response can maintain us in our lives: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.” During a year when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall so close together, we have a rare opportunity to find unique ways to explore gratitude. When I sit down for our family’s Thanksgiving meal, it will be very easy for me to identify what I am most grateful for. My family and I were welcomed with open hearts and outstretched arms, and we have felt the warm embrace of community members, donors, volunteers, and of course my colleagues here at the Federation. I am especially thankful to be surrounded by such talented and dedicated professionals. For those of you who don’t know our team, here is a little insight into why I am so grateful to be working with them.
To Shauna Leavey, our Director of Community Engagement - I am grateful for your passion for building Jewish community and the ways in which you try to innovate to bring new initiatives and programming to our community members.
To Susan Stuart, our Director of Development - I am grateful for how enthusiastic you are about connecting people with their philanthropic values and finding ways to help them live out their charitable goals through the Federation.
To Allison Weil, our Programming & Communications Associate - I am grateful for your love of Jewish education and the pride you take in learning new skills so that you can continue to help people feel comfortable expressing their Jewish identities.
To Shay Rubinstein, our Virtual Shaliach - I am grateful for your expertise and ability inspire people of all ages, from students in our religious schools who you work with to our devoted Israel Café attendees.
To Michalah Hoffman, our Community Social Worker - I am grateful for how you can aid vulnerable individuals in our community and how you continue to identify and address needs in our community even while working remotely.
To Rabbi Amy Scheinerman, our Community Hospice Rabbi - I am grateful for your spirituality and the way that you so sensitively approach end of life issues with families who are confronting such difficult situations.
To Rabbi Hillel Baron, our Community Chaplain - I am grateful for your commitment to maintaining the dignity of life for people who are in assisted living facilities and the hospital.
To Connie Drey, our Office Administrator - I am grateful for your learning mindset and your willingness to step in and help in whatever way is needed.
And as we shift our mindset from Thanksgiving to Hanukkah, I am reminded that Al ha’nisim -- one of the prayers added to our liturgy on Hanukkah -- is about miracles. It’s a prayer of thanksgiving, acknowledging all the good deeds, kindnesses, and resilience that the Jewish People have known since Biblical times. What we have gone through as a people and how we have persevered is one of the strongest bonds that unite us as a community. I am so grateful to be a part of the Howard County Jewish community and look forward to all of the great things we will be able to accomplish together as a community.
Happy Thanksgiving and Chag Chanuka Sameach,