I have learned this year that the members of my community are resilient and strong. I have learned that physical distance is not social or spiritual distance. Ours is a community with deep roots in our city, and many branches that reach well beyond Columbus. The Jewish network is tight-knit, and yet it is expansive and welcoming. I have learned from my congregants that once you are in, you are in, and it has been my privilege to see ideas inspire more ideas, and action. Whether the pandemic has been a factor or not, I have seen that despite political and social polarization, there are people who will decide not to engage in differences, but rather in common causes. I have heard, “Well, Rabbi, we don’t need to go over that ground now,” and “That’s a conversation for another time. There are more important things to do right now.” Yes, the last half of 5780 has been very challenging. I know I have learned to adjust expectations, sometimes downward and sometimes sideways, but also upwards. Am I tired of all this learning? On some days the answer is that I am. But there are also days when I am grateful, and I am learning to cherish those days. May 5781 bring us happy lessons, contentment and blessings.
Rabbi Schwartz serves Temple Israel in Columbus, Ga.