September is a time of new beginnings.
In June, I attended one of the BWC's Young Adult Shabes services, with 15 people in their 20's and 30's singing in the backyard. One participant started singing a song that she remembered from growing up attending the Worker's Circle Shule in Westchester. She couldn't remember all the words and struggled a little with the tune, but as she sang, several people around the circle picked it up and started humming along. The tune was Ale Brider, one of the first songs I remember singing when I became part of this community nine years ago. The service was led by Sarah O'Connor (a former Shule teacher, new Board member, and co-chair of the Young Adult Committee) and Emily Bloch (a Shule grad and BWC member).
As I looked around the circle at current and past staff, at people who had been involved since they were children and people for whom this was their first exposure to the organization, at faces I had seen at other events and people I had never seen, I saw two threads.
I saw this organization stretching back to the early 1900s when we were a mutual aid society; to the 1980s when so many of our members revitalized the organization as a place to send their kids, like Emily, to a radical secular Shule, revitalize Yiddish culture, and build community together; to eight years ago when I was just getting to know you all.
I also saw a thread connecting us to the future. As I sat with these young people, some 10 to 15 years younger than me, I realized that I am a middle point, grounded in the foundations laid by generations who came before me in this organization, and looking forward to this group who will eventually take over. These are the people who will organize Gragger and the Hanukkah party, as I have for many years. These are the future board members and the future president of the board.
This is a year of new beginnings.
We hope that at the end of the year, we will have a new building to move into that will be accessible to people of all ages in our community. We are embarking on exciting new work for racial justice and against Islamophobia.
The revitalized TASC is starting its second year of working with teens. We have two new committees -- the Aging in Community Committee which has had a series of wonderful discussions about the challenges of getting older, and the Caring Committee that is charged with making our community more welcoming and helping our members in need. Our Young Adult committee is back in action with three fierce and funny leaders. And we have started a Leadership Team to connect our committees to each other and make the organization more cohesive.
My goal, as your new president, is to support all of you in deepening our work and bringing us all closer together. Luckily for me, we are well on our way.