Happy New Year! 2021 is finally here! Just like every new year, some things change and some things stay the same. 2020 was a difficult year. Many of us suffered losses, postponed simchas, and faced new professional as well as personal obstacles. I never imagined an online preschool or taking daily temperatures of children in person. Nor could I imagine attending a Zoom shiva or wearing a mask to a wedding with no reception to celebrate. The list goes on and on. 2020 may be over, but the losses and challenges remain. 2021 does not erase 2020.
I can choose to bemoan 2020, be glad it is gone, or I can take the experiences and use them to create a better 2021. I choose to do both. In taking stock of the lessons learned, many of my preconceived notions and assumptions have been challenged. I learned that Zoom preschool Shabbat means out of town grandparents can join in. We can teach and connect in an interactive way online. Zoom shiva means family and friends from all over the country can share stories and comfort each other. Celebrating a new marriage in my family is joyous even if everyone except the bride and groom are wearing masks. Taking daily temperatures and stamping hands means spending a few seconds eye to eye with each child, which is often the best part of my day. Out of almost everything that happened, came some good. I just needed to look for it.
Another change for 2021 in the ECE-RJ world is the addition of Rachel Margolis, RJE as the URJ liaison to ECE-RJ. I have had the good fortune of working with Rachel over the past few years and am thrilled that she will now be working directly with us. Her energy, experience, and enthusiasm will truly be an asset to our organization.
Rachel, Senior Program Manager with the URJ, focuses her work on building networks to bring innovation and improve the relationship between educators and their lay leaders. She also helped with the Project Excellence for Early Childhood Congregational Education (PEECCE) project, including teaching the congregational advisors.
When not working with synagogue communities, Rachel sat on the Temple Beth Or Preschool Board (Raleigh, NC), and has served as the chair of the HUC-JIR Alumni Leadership Council and has been a member of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors. She is married to Rabbi Ari Margolis, of Congregation Or Shalom in Vernon Hills, IL. They have three daughters, Laila, Adaya and Eliora, and a sweet puppy Kenobi.
Please join me in welcoming Rachel to ECE-RJ.
Wishing everyone a peaceful and calm 2021!