The Gift of Our Presence
As I approached the deadline today for my contribution to this month’s Chanukah issue, I asked myself what’s really important? 2020 has been an undeniably, unbelievable year, and with the arrival of the holiday season I hope my presence vs. material presents, my words, actions and deeds will continue to brighten someone else’s life. After all, we’re called humankind, and we must strive to be humans that are kind. In fact, kinder than necessary.
A recent post I shared by L. R. Knost sums up my thoughts best. “Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”
This year has taken a stab at all of us in a myriad of ways and we’re all doing our best to celebrate what’s right in this world, in spite of the darkness.
With the eight nights of Chanukah arriving, I pray for more of the breathtakingly beautiful part of life to emerge brighter than ever. To wrap itself around us like a grid-locked hug pulling us through the days ahead.
Today, as I wrap up this column like a gift, another thing I’m thankful for came instantly to mind. Every week I attend virtually an editorial meeting for this paper, the Atlanta Jewish Times. I marvel at the assembled group of talented individuals who chime in and illuminate topics for the paper to address. Under the devoted leadership of Michael Morris and non-stop wisdom of Managing Publisher and Editor Kaylene Ladinsky to the talented Associate Editor Roni Robbins and the entire team of writers, journalists, graphic designers, social media experts, sales team and more, this paper is a gift to us all and not be taken for granted. It’s a labor of love and year-round, the AJT is dedicated to up-to-the-minute meaningful content in support of our community.
When we light the Chanukiah, please keep in mind how fortunate we are to be in such a caring community that has a Jewish newspaper that speaks to our needs, enlightens and entertains us, and makes such a difference. I wish to celebrate and thank these amazing professionals, and my devoted colleagues, who share their topical stories; reviews of businesses and restaurants; opinions; mitzvahs; memorials; interests to Jewish Atlanta; and so much more. I am honored to be even a small part of this effort of excellence surrounded by you.
This Chanukah, I hope you will join me as we let the flame of the candles continue to burn and let us all still have the fuel, fortitude and strength to keep it going. To make life beautiful in spite of the challenges, and keep the lights shining.
My remarkable friend, the legendary Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary wrote a song in 1983 called “Light One Candle,” which is sung especially during Chanukah worldwide. In the spirit of Peter’s heartfelt lyrics, and as we light each candle, let us show up, come together as a family and community that cares beyond measure about peace and love. Peter’s song reminds us that we can each light one candle; we can do so with our actions, to acknowledge that freedom and justice matter, and we can all use our own inner lights to truly brighten the world.
The Atlanta Jewish Times is recognized as one of the most important, successful and relevant Jewish newspapers across the country and it’s right here in our hands. How fortunate we are to have its presence shining brightly on our community as we celebrate the traditions of Chanukah. May your flame be rekindled by the presence of your loved ones and surrounded by a village who lights up your life with love.
Robyn Spizman Gerson is a New York Times bestselling author and media personality and author of “Loving Out Loud: The Power of a Kind Word.”