Today marks eight months since I stepped into the role as the Executive Director of the Merage Jewish Community Center (JCC). Nothing prepared me—for any of us—for these past few months. Each day has been filled with great challenges and change, nevertheless, we are resilient. Our mission, values, and commitment to community has not, and will not waver.
In the beginning of this odyssey, Ellen Olshansky, PhD, RN, FAAN, led a Zoom conversation with our staff and community encouraging our own resiliency. One of the key elements of resiliency is gratefulness, recognizing the silver linings of challenges.
There are truly many things to be grateful for. My family remains healthy and safe and for that I am tremendously grateful.
You are probably surprised to hear, that I am also grateful for blood. Blood? Yes. I know a strange thing to be grateful for, but stick with me on this.
Despite being closed for three months, during the quarantine, Merage JCC opened its doors to the Red Cross for a blood drive. Cars filled the parking lot, and it felt eerily “normal.” Everyone was there for a purpose, and while they were practicing physical distancing and safely moving into our theater, they were using their blood to save lives. According to the Red Cross, enough life-saving blood was collected to help more than 138 people.
Blood can also be negative in terms of a wound or even a plague. Blood, dam, as we learn, was a plague in Egypt and has been an unfortunate part of human existence and the history of the Jewish people. It is easy to become distracted with the deadly nature of this pandemic, worried about the future of families, loved ones, and businesses, even our Merage JCC. Unfortunately, I can only offer hope as none of us know what the future holds.
What we can celebrate and be grateful for is blood or, in this case, life. Choose hope over uncertainty and fear.
Zei Gezunt—Be healthy.