At times, it is really quite amazing to think about how much can happen in one year.
Just one year ago, our world found itself thrust into a global pandemic. Mixed messages were coming from trusted sources; masks should be worn, masks don’t need to be worn. Older adults are most at risk; those with underlying health concerns are more at risk. The virus can be found on surfaces; the virus is more easily spread from person to person. Isolation and lockdown are the only paths toward safety.
Amidst the wave of shutdown orders, and the whirl of disruption, the member agencies of our Network quickly (sometimes overnight) transitioned to virtual service delivery. We all learned new ways of working; of being with, or separated from, friends, family and colleagues, of keeping ourselves and others safe.
And along the way, we found silver linings in all of the craziness. We reconnected with long lost friends over Zoom and we shared resources with each other through countless Network sponsored webinars and Affinity Group meetings. We dreamed big and learned new ways of delivering service to the most vulnerable, as well as to those who never before sought assistance from our agencies. We established a presence for our agencies and for our Network with many new partner organizations and with new funders. The value and need for Jewish human services took on a level of primacy in many communities. We thrived and began to find a renewed sense of commitment to our Network and to the Jewish human service sector.
As the holiday of Passover approaches, we are taught to consider the historic Exodus of the Israelites from slavery to freedom; the parallels to our circumstances today are quite powerful. We too have felt enslaved, with fears of the virus driving our every move. Today, with vaccinations underway and with friends and family beginning to find safe ways to reconnect with each other, many of us are beginning to see a collective sense of freedom emerge. Yet, we know many have also suffered great loss and will be forced to cope with lasting trauma for years to come.
My hope for all of us is that we take time to appreciate the “freedoms” of Passover, and the roles that we and our agencies play in serving our communities with compassion and with strength. May we continue to have the courage to wrestle with the many inequities and injustices that challenge our world so that freedom can be a reality for us all. And may we continue to support and to inspire each other so that our Network remains a source of deep connection for each of us; bringing us together through its core pillars of advocacy, best practices, innovation and partnerships and continuing to find ways to bring needed resources for our agencies, its leadership, volunteers and clients.
Wishing you and yours a most healthy, happy and meaningful holiday season.