5780 has certainly turned out to be a different sort of year than we all expected and hoped. While we are much more isolated than in the past, we have gone through it together – suffering, fearing and mourning. On the flip side, we also have celebrated, loved, prayed together. 5780 has taught me about resiliency — both my own and that of this Atlanta Jewish community.
Professionally and personally, we have found new ways to do things. Whether through Zoom calls, curbside pickups, or even drive-by simchas, we find ways to scale the walls put up in front of us and see the world from a new perspective.
I’ve learned to rely on family and close friends in ways I may not have before. It’s impossible to get a hug from someone when they have to stay 6 feet away. I’ve learned to be stronger on my own, leaning more on the words and perspectives of those in my closest circle.
I’ve even learned some physical self-sufficiency. In addition to the decades’ worth of paper towel in my basement, my husband and I have learned to bake sourdough bread, grow our vegetables, and even do basic construction work.
It would have been easy to isolate and pretend we’re alone against the world. But we have an amazing Jewish community here in Atlanta. Watching Shabbat services from a pickup truck, a Havdalah candle lit in a cul-de-sac, or bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, and yes, even funerals performed online, I have been inspired by how our community continues to open its arms, open its hearts, and open its spirit to each other.
That is resiliency to me.
Gabby Leon Spatt is the executive director of The Blue Dove Foundation.