PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – June 2021
Our Temple is emerging from the pandemic. We have resumed in-person Shabbat services, albeit without an oneg and with masks. Our religious school has concluded its all-Zoom term and we anticipate having our students and teachers returning to actual classrooms this fall. We are even anticipating holding High Holidays at the Temple in September.
Our journey back to “normal” depends, of course, on continued progress toward beating COVID-19. To a large extent that depends on all of us, our friends, our family, and our neighbors, becoming vaccinated. It also depends on continued vigilance in preventing transmission by wearing masks where necessary, continuing to wash our hands regularly, observing social distancing where appropriate, and paying attention to trends and conditions.
Diane and I are now fully vaccinated, as is our son Jon, and although it feels liberating, there is still the nagging hesitancy to embrace the old normal. While I no longer see fellow shoppers at the supermarket at threats to my existence, I still wipe down the handle of my cart, reach back in the shelf to pick a product less likely to have been touched by other customers, and wash my hands first thing when I get home. Who knows when, if ever, these new habits will fade.
It is clear, however, that our nation, our state, and our community are reopening, and that raises the question — where do we go from here? This question is particularly important to our Temple Beth Emet family — where do we go from here? What now? We are fortunate and grateful that over the past year (plus) our Temple membership has continued to pay their dues, make donations, and participate in our online activities and the few occasions where we had activities at Temple, but we really had no opportunity to grow our congregation. As we move forward into “recovery” it will be incumbent on each of us to not only continue our support of our Temple, but to look for ways to revitalize and expand our Temple family. We need to restore and replace things we used to rely on. We have started to reach out to organizations that were using our facilities and providing extra revenue, but our preschool families and staff have moved on and it is unlikely we will be restarting our preschool any time soon.
So where do we go from here? As a Temple community, we should look forward and see the opportunities. People have been forced into isolation, now we need to offer friendship and togetherness. People have been fearful, now we need to offer spiritual hope and encouragement. Times have seemed dark, but I can think of no better time than now, with the coming of summer’s long days and light to chase those dark feelings away and rejoice in each other at our Temple With a Heart. Where do we go from here? We look upward, we go forward!
— IRA L. GOLDSTEIN, President