Bittersweet. A little awkward. Grateful. Some words to describe my first few weeks as executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton. Shortly after my father passed away at the end of April, I began my new position here at the JFed. The welcoming energy of the office was a needed distraction after watching my dad succumb to the late stages of Alzheimer’s. I found myself greeted by countless community members, all with the same awkward words: “I’m so sorry for your loss and congrats on your new job.” I appreciated each and every sentiment. They have helped me to heal and given me strength. As I move forward, I am so very grateful for the support I have received. The staff at The Reporter and Jewish Community Center have gone above and beyond to make me feel welcomed and up to speed. Much respect to all of them for the hard work they do everyday. The amazing duo of Sima Auerbach and Jennifer Kakusian has gently guided me and given me the confidence I need to begin this journey. Thank you. Sima’s dedication and wisdom are boundless. My prayer is that I can hold the shining torch as high as she has for so many years.To the wonderful people of the Binghamton community, I have seen your heart and compassion these last few months and I am so grateful to know you. Your kindness and caring have lifted me up and carried me through a challenging time. I want you all to know, I am here to return the favor. The Federation doors are always open.P.S. Please allow me to say thank you to my husband Mark for always saying yes and for holding my hand through it all.