Shanah tovah um’tukah
To everyone celebrating Rosh Hashanah tonight, meaning may you have a good and sweet new year. Given the holiday, perhaps this is the appropriate time to reflect on our Village and our actions over the past year and then look forward to what we’d like to create.
From my vantage point, we’ve come together as a community remarkably well during a year likely to be remembered for the pandemic above all else. We reacted quickly to move things online in an effort to keep everyone safe. We put out frequent emails, including daily ones for several months, to provide the latest and best information on the virus. We taught people how to order groceries online and our volunteers delivered groceries and prescriptions as well. A group of neighborhood families came together to provide meals and baked goods to lighten the load for some of our members and we even partnered with a local bakery, Baked by Yael, so that they could solicit donations to produce goods at a time when sales were almost non-existent.
We held a virtual fundraising gala, the Summer Spritz, which was both fun and financially successful. We brought people together, including family and friends from across the country, to hear the moving and powerful stories of our members and volunteers and what it means and looks like for “Neighbors helping Neighbors.” Incredibly, in the midst of pandemic, we’ve welcomed 30 new members and trained 33 new volunteers! But most importantly, and I sure hope that each of you feels this too, we’ve built on our sense of community – being there for one another, as individuals, but also as a neighborhood-based organization.
Looking ahead, we must first do what we can to keep everyone safe. We can continue to do this by providing good information and resources, ensuring that our members’ essential needs (for food, medicine, and transportation to healthcare providers) are met, and offer virtual and outdoor programs of interest to combat social isolation. Pandemic fatigue is real and social isolation is in itself a documented health risk. We’ll keep refining our programs to get through the colder months. We’ll strengthen our relationships with other neighborhood organizations and faith communities so that we can mutually support each other’s work and mission. We’ll welcome new members, volunteers, partners, and donors.
There are two things that I can say that I’ve learned from this year. You cannot anticipate everything and being in community with others will help you get through the unexpected. I’m glad we’re on this journey together and look forward to what we will create together.
May you all have a good, sweet, peaceful, and happy new year.