What I’m Grateful for This Year

This being the last blog post I’m planning to write this year (we’ll be closed the next two Fridays) as well as the last blog post of my 52nd lap around the sun (Monday will be my birthday), allow me to focus for a few minutes on gratitude. 

In a week that’s brought some hard news – our nation reaching 800,000 deaths from COVID – in an overall challenging year, with so much loss and pain, so much anger and hate, I find it valuable to lift up gratitude in my life. 

I’m grateful to be alive and to be in reasonably good health (and have health care). And I’m grateful to have a job that I find genuinely fulfilling and that I’m eager to get up and do (most days). I’m grateful to have friends and loved ones who care about me and who inspire me to be a better person.  

My gratitude is elevated by the recognition that these are not small things. Not everyone has their health or employment right now, or work that they find meaningful. And so many of us, including myself, have lost friends and family this past year. So, I’m grateful for what I have. 

I’m grateful for the things we’ve been able to celebrate this year, and the communities I have to celebrate them with: all of you who joined us in celebrating my ten years at JCRC. And all of you who were part of coalitions that celebrated wins this year – like passing the genocide education law here in Massachusetts.  

I’m grateful for the communities and coalitions that gave me – and I hope some of you – strength this year; empowering us to take action in response to horror, rather than throwing up our arms in despair when the world can be so overwhelming. I’m appreciative of the amazing network of faith communities, human service agencies and congregations that we organized to welcome hundreds of Afghan refugees to Massachusetts. I’m thankful for the times we’ve come together, with the solidarity and support of civic leaders and partners, to stand against hatred, antisemitism, and violence, like in Brighton in July, or at the New England Holocaust Memorial during Chanukah.  

I’m grateful for the opportunities to continue to learn and think this year; reading amazing books, having interesting conversations, following interesting people on social media – people who step outside of the echo chamber to ask thoughtful questions with a genuine spirit of openness to growth and change, in response to new information or better arguments.  

I’m grateful to have had any opportunity to travel this year (though less than usual) and for having been able to visit friends and partners in Israel this summer, including many in the travel and education industry who’ve suffered during this time far more, professionally, than we have.  

I’m grateful to have had the opportunities to share my thoughts and passions and hobbies with you; to write and tweet, and to be in public conversations. Thank you those of you who’ve engaged with me and us this year; about Bruce Springsteen’s Superbowl ad, Black-Jewish shared interests, Jews and comic books, progressives and Israel, how to talk about antisemitism, and so much more.

I’m grateful to the entire JCRC team – our professionals, our volunteers, our community, and our supporters like you – without whom none of the things I am grateful for would be possible. 

These are just a few of the things I am grateful for at the end of 2021. 

I hope that as you read this, you are inspired to think about what you are grateful for.  

And since you’ve read this far, I hope that one of things that you are grateful for is JCRC; for the work we do and the voice we bring into Boston’s civic square as we represent our community. 

And if you could help us out, as a birthday present to me, with a gift to our year-end campaign – I would be so ever grateful to you. 

Thanks. And, with gratitude, Shabbat Shalom.

Jeremy