From the President

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – January 2021

I don’t remember a year that was so universally cast off with such vigor as 2020.  Comic strips carried the theme “good riddance, 2020.”  Facebook memes heralded the close of the year.  Articles were written celebrating the coming of 2021.  Let’s face it, 2020 was not the best year for most of us.

Diane and I have been spared the worst that 2020 had to offer.  We have been healthy, we never really ran short on toilet paper, our son Jon closed his stores during the first round of shut-down, but was able to sell the stores and get out from under the expenses of a restricted business environment.  Diane and I have had each other for companionship, and Jon has Sofia, so we don’t worry too much about their welfare (but we have dropped off some extra groceries and an occasional check because hey, we’re parents!)  Diane was on sabbatical during the fall semester and will be holding classes via Zoom this Spring, so we don’t have the concern of workplace exposure.  We count our blessings. 

Our Temple has carried on and managed to maintain Shabbat and High Holiday services, Religious School, Adult Education, even a Shofar sounding and Hanukkah candle lighting.  We maintained our participation with Family Promise, which itself managed to continue its work by collecting gift cards instead of hosting families physically.  I even opened up a Venmo account to contribute in lieu of my usual tray of mac and cheese.  With all its hardships and challenges, my family got through 2020, Temple Beth Emet got through 2020, and you got through 2020.  Good for all of us!

Every new year begins with new opportunities.  Most of the time we are not sure what will come, but in 2021 we do have a few opportunities we can readily identify.  Although it is off to a slower start than hoped, there are now two vaccines rolling out.  We anticipate that this terrible pandemic will start to ease, then recede, and eventually fade.  We look forward in the coming year little by little to start easing the restrictions on our lives.  Some of the changes to the way we live and work will likely evolve into new norms, including more people working from home.  We will rely more on technology for information, communication, and education.  But little by little we will return to shopping in stores and sending our children to physical schools.  Eventually concerts, sporting events, theater, dining in restaurants all will return.  Not right away, but eventually.  We will even fill our synagogue at the High Holidays again.  Maybe this year, but I actually think it will be the next.

Our world at New Year 2022 will surely not be just like it was at New Year 2020.  We should not expect that.  But it will be a whole lot more like it was and I look forward to seeing that begin to come true.  For now, let’s keep doing what we are doing.  Keep washing hands, wearing masks when out, maintaining distance from others, monitoring our health, and keeping our faith in God and each other.  We went through so much pain and hardship in 2020!  We have so much hope and so much to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.

A very Happy New Year 2021 to you all.

— IRA L. GOLDSTEIN, President