A bit of normalcy goes a long way

by | Apr 22, 2021 | Trending News

Earlier this month, our community, along with communities around the world, celebrated the 73rd birthday of the State of Israel.

On Sunday, April 18, the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community was more vibrant than it has been in more than a year! Families joyfully participated in a drive-through Israel experience that brought delight to so many children’s faces, as well as those of their parents! That evening, a beautiful spring night, the parking lot was filled with cars that were filled with people who thoroughly enjoyed the drive-in movie, Aulcie, as part of our Virginia Festival of Jewish Film. As Joel

Rubin said when he introduced the movie, “Isn’t it great to be with people??!”

This year hasn’t been entirely all virtual. Our day schools have provided safe learning environments, some of our congregations have managed to provide COVID-safe, in-person opportunities to worship and celebrate simchas, members have been at the Simon Family JCC in limited capacities, and members of Jewish Tidewater have been gradually reemerging. Yet, Sunday was different. It felt like a true reemergence. It felt like community.

As more and more of our community, and our country, safely reemerges this spring, I hope that we remember how strong and vibrant we have been throughout this year—just in different ways. All of our organizations and institutions have discovered how we can connect with individuals virtually, which in some cases, has resulted in increased engagement.

Still, there is nothing like being together. The photographs and videos I have seen on social media of grandparents hugging their grandchildren for the first time in over a year have brought me so much joy. My own family experienced that joy at Passover as my parents tightly hugged my children. I hope that this joy increases for all of us in the coming months.

As we approach Mother’s Day, my mother has always told me that G-d does not give us any tsuris we cannot handle. I think about that often, and especially during this past year. While our community has celebrated many simchas, we have and continue to mourn, many loved ones. We have and continue to show our strength and resiliency in so many ways.

I look forward to connecting with all of you at some point this year. May we all continue to go from strength to strength.

From my family to yours, wishing you a celebratory Lag B’Omer and happy Mother’s Day!

Betty Ann Levin
Executive Vice President/CEO
United Jewish Federation of Tidewater/Simon Family JCC