As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to take time this year to personally thank everyone in our community for all you have done to help one another and our Jewish community during these unprecedented and unsettling times. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite times of year. Because I was born on Thanksgiving, I always got to spend my birthday with friends and family. This year, as we all know, our Thanksgiving celebrations are going to be different. For those of us who are used to spending quality time with family, friends or neighbors during this holiday season we are going to have to adjust to how to celebrate and keep each other safe. Different, however doesn’t always have to mean bad. Our new way of life has caused many of us to reflect and appreciate more of the little things and we have and become more attuned to the needs of others.
More than ever we have found new ways to support one another and we are especially thankful and appreciative for our health and the ability to put food on our table for a family meal. Many of you also offer support during the holidays to those who are unable to be with their family or friends. Your support and efforts to help reduce their isolation and loneliness are wonderful expressions of our core Jewish values, such as chesed through your acts of loving and kindness.
This “new normal” has offered us the opportunity to come together as a community. I am continually proud of all the work our Jewish Federation is doing to help those in need. Michalah Hoffman, our Community Social Worker, and our manyFed TOV Connections volunteers are continuing to help those in our community by buying groceries and socializing with those who cannot leave their homes. Our chaplaincy professionals – Rabbi Hillel Baron, Community Chaplain, and Rabbi Amy Scheinerman, Hospice Rabbi – continue to provide pastoral care through support groups and in-person visits to Howard County General Hospital and retirement and nursing facilities. And our Mitzvah Meals program, which continues monthly, recently dropped off over 200 lunches at Grass Roots Crisis Intervention Center and Elizabeth House for clients in need. As long as the pandemic continues, your Federation will continue to find ways to help and support our community in need.
We would not be able to do any of this sacred work without the help and support you provide our Federation. There has never been a time where your generosity has meant more. You are helping make a difference in people’s lives during difficult times. Thank you for your time, your active engagement in our programs, and for your charitable donations. Our community cannot do this alone. Through chesed we will continue to make things better by working together.