Listening

I am typically not a procrastinator. I love to make a list and dutifully check off each item after it is accomplished. I even start each day by making my bed, a quick and easy accomplishment. Check! 

So, I find myself asking: why have I been procrastinating writing this op-ed? Truth be told, writing is not something I enjoy, but this, it seems, goes deeper. As a leader, I have learned there is a time to speak and there is a time to listen. Right now is a time to listen. What can I say to add to the conversation about equity and justice for people of color? What is there left to say about staying safe during the pandemic? 

These topics are complex and how we respond to them will forever change our country and our community. We need to listen to one another with an empathic ear. We need to withhold judgment and gather our strength. We will need strength to endure what will surely be long-term isolation. We will need strength to stand up for what is just. To me, strength comes from knowledge and faith. Knowledge and faith come from careful listening, thoughtful questions and stillness. 

I want you all to know that I am still here, keeping the Federation going. I am busy planning for the fall. Before we know it Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will be here, the 2021 Campaign will be on its way and, God willing, we will all be finding our way forward in the new landscape of COVID-19. Whatever is to come, the Federation will always be here to serve its community members and organizations.

So, to the members of the Binghamton Jewish community, I send my apologies for not sharing my voice right now. There is a lot of talking going on. I am here listening. I have faith that we will make it through this difficult time together. Please continue to take safety precautions. I’m sending you all my best wishes for a happy and healthy summer.