By Jenn Ross
As I’m writing this column, my hopes and prayers are that our community is doing well following a challenging election and we can heal and come together regardless of the results. One of my current reads which I highly recommend is Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. It was written in 2012 and is incredibly relevant now. One of his chapters delves into the moral foundations theory and explains how liberals and conservatives both value morality but each focus on different aspects. It is a helpful reminder that our friends, neighbors, and family may have different perspectives and interpretations on current events, but can still respect one another.
I have found it therapeutic to be able to return to working out of my office full time at the JCC. Even though we are still open at reduced capacity, I have many opportunities to (re)connect with our community. Our virtual programming has enabled me to stay in touch and “see” many of you since March and I continue to connect with many of you that way. Having more physically distant face-to-face interaction with our team and members and knowing that the Brenner Family Early Learning Center, the JCC Fitness Center, some youth recreation programming, and The Silver Academy are building community daily at the J warms my heart. We also were able to relaunch the Kosher Meal distribution for children on October 18 and it is wonderful to connect with families as they drive through for their pick-ups.
I hope you are finding community virtually and/or in person at the J and in other ways. Please let me know if you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions. I can be reached at 717-236-9555 x 3104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to extend a warm welcome publicly to colleague Steven Schauder, JFS’s executive director who we featured in an earlier edition of Community Review. I am already thoroughly enjoying working with him via Zoom, phone, and email. Congratulations to Barry Stein on his retirement and thank you to him for all of his accomplishments. Our joint work on numerous programs and initiatives to enhance mental health, support those struggling with addiction, and destigmatizing both, were incredibly meaningful to me. I look forward to my continued work on these important initiatives building community with Steven.
Thank you to all of our Veterans for your service. Though we officially celebrate you on November 11, I appreciate and value your dedication to our country and its citizens every day of the year. We would not be able to build community without your work protecting us as a nation and a democracy. I would like to extend this prayer that was included in a JWB Jewish Chaplains Council guide:
Ribbono Shel Olam! Sovereign of the Universe!
We invoke your blessings upon the members of our American armed forces, those brave men and women whose courage and commitment to our country protects us all. Whether by air, land, or sea, wherever their orders take them, we ask, dear God, that they be protected within your sheltering Presence. Shield them from harm and from pain, assuage their loneliness, and sustain their faith in the face of the formidable enemies that they confront on a daily basis. May all of their efforts be crowned with victory, and the assurance that we who depend on their courage appreciate and understand the great difficulty of their work. Most of all, we pray what for all soldiers is the ultimate prayer—that they be privileged to return to the loving arms of their families and a grateful country safely, speedily, and in good health. Because of their courage, may we all be privileged to know and savor the blessings of true peace and security. Amen.