Hope for the year ahead

This being the final working Friday of 2020, I’ve been feeling a certain pressure to write something expansive and thoughtful; reacting to one last big topic we’re wrestling with, or reflecting on one more dynamic that informs how we as Jews navigate our internal debates, participate in American civic life, and understand the great issues of our day.

While I hate to disappoint you, this – my final blog post of 2020 – is not that.

What this is, though, is a simple and brief expression of gratitude.

2020 has been hard. For all of us. Granted it’s been hard in different ways, depending on the nature of your pod, the status of your work, the needs you are being asked to meet for those who are proximate to you, and so many other factors. And while some have thrived and some have struggled more than others, it won’t be a year that many of us look back on with fondness.

Even as we watch the inspiring scenes of truckloads of vaccines beginning to arrive at our hospitals (@2ShotsInTheArm has been a source of joy, inspiration and hope to me every day this week), I’m under no illusion that the challenges of 2020 will magically fade away in the coming year. We’ve got extraordinary repair work to do, and as a community and a society, we don’t even have a shared diagnosis of the problem. 

Nevertheless, I’m profoundly optimistic about what come next, largely because of you.

Despite the fact that we’ve spent most of 2020 apart, isolated to various degrees, I have never felt alone in all this. At every step of the way, when there have been struggles, whether they be personal or collective, I’ve seen individuals, institutions, and communities step in and hold people, help people, and extend a hand of support and solidarity. 

Even as we’ve all been dealing with our challenges in 2020, you’ve never not been there for me, for us, and for larger work of building civic space and shared society. I hope that I, in turn, have been present for others as well.

That strength, that support, that active expression of connection to each other even now, gives me hope for the year ahead. 

So, thank you. Thank you for being generous with me and with JCRC this year. Thank you for giving me hope by being generous with each other.

You inspire me, and will continue to do so.

Shabbat Shalom, and wishing you a Happy New Year.

Jeremy