"A little grayer"

JUly 16, 2021

It really feels like summer in Savannah.
The JEA Outdoor pool is open, then it’s closed for 30 minutes, it’s back open, then it’s closed again. It’s like a roller coaster of availability—as the heat builds, the inevitable thunder and lightning is soon upon us and we are back in the cycle. It’s an almost daily occurrence. 
Many of us are off to Tybee or Hilton Head for the beach or up to the mountains in North Georgia or Western North Carolina in search of cooler temps. Some of the real adventurous families are heading to Disney or Universal. The airports are so crowded that two hour waiting times to get through TSA is not unusual and the highways are a constant challenge.
Yet, we know that despite all the activity, this is not a normal summer. We are still suffering the impact of COVID-19, especially on the growing number of those in need. Add to that, the psychological effects of isolation and separation and this is a unique “summer to remember.”
While this is a time that many in the community are at the beach, mountains, or spending time with family (who they haven’t seen for many months), your Federation, your Alliance, never takes a break. We are committed to providing for needs of our community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We have been actively working on what 2021-22 looks like. One of our favorite activities of the year is “calendaring.” It is the time when we sharpen our pencils, open up fresh calendars for the next year, and start to dream. Sometimes they are just ideas that need more development, sometimes there are ideas which are absolute “home runs” and we want to write them in pen, and other times the programs just seems to schedule themselves. It’s a time when we look at all our outreach initiatives and lay them out: Young Jewish Savannah, PJ Library, concerts, educational initiatives, Shabbatons,
holiday celebrations, SCAD Hillel, Campaign, Camp, Days at the J, Food for Thought, Levy Concert…the list goes on and on. 
Then we consider the budgets of the organizations, manpower, what space is needed (and is it available), who is the core/focus audience for the program, have we addressed the needs/wants of different constituencies? Slowly, oh so slowly, the year comes in to focus and the excitement builds; especially after the “year of virtual.”
Each week we see more and more people “returning” to the JEA and Federation for different programs. Some people are a little wary, others have jumped back in like the last 18 months never happened. Not just a few told me that I’ve turned a little greyer….not that I’m surprised…the last 18 months have been a little challenging. 
In planning for the New Year, we spoke to many in the community to cull their visions and ideas. We heard you and share your concerns, and we are committed to our unshakable mission to build an inclusive, flourishing, safe, and secure Jewish community — today and for the future.
With best wishes for a continued healthy and enjoyable summer.
Shabbat Shalom,