Jewish 2020 - In Review
Shabbat Shalom! And, Happy New Year. May it be a year of peace, good health and happiness for you, your family, our congregation and our world. I truly miss seeing everybody and hope that this year will bring the possibility of gathering once again
I've put together a short retrospective of the year, for the Jewish community, that has passed. I tried to pick out bits and pieces that represent the year that was. I hope you enjoy it.
Twenty-five thousand people march against anti-Semitism in New York City at the “No Hate, No Fear” rally. (My sons and I were three of the participants. It feels like much more than a year ago.)
In February, 2020, former Israeli POW Gilad Shalit became engaged, the MET formally recognized one of its painting had been owned by a Jewish art dealer who fled the Nazis and actor Kirk Douglas died at the age 103.
In retrospect, it was the calm before the storm.
We had Purim and, then, everything changed.
Synagogues and Jewish organizations went into shut-down, lockdown, quarantine mode – along with the rest of world. Words like “Zoom Mitzvah” and “Virtual Seder” joined our Jewish lexicon.
In Israel, the Likud and Blue and White parties reached an agreement for a coalition government, after 3 inconclusive nationwide elections. (Fast-forward: the coalition failed in December 2020 and a 4th election will be held in March 2021.)
Jewish organizations and individuals spoke out after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Numerous Jewish organizations issued statements of condemnation and joined coalitions with Black Lives Matter. In the words of ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, “Systemic injustice and inequality calls for systemic change. Now.”
The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York laid off 40% of its staff. These layoffs are emblematic of financial stress felt throughout the Jewish organizational and cultural world due to the pandemic.
Georgia Senator David Perdue’s re-election campaign posted ads with images of his opponent Jon Ossoff with an enlarged nose. Ossoff called it, “the least original anti-Semitic trope in history.”
Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris’ husband, brings a little Yiddishkeit to the presidential ticket. His nickname for her: Mamaleh.
Our community loses a hero and an icon. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies. May her memory be for a blessing. Or, as some say, for a revolution.
Israel and Sudan reached a peace agreement, following similar agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in September.
Yes, we had the election and a new president-elect! But on a lighter note, the Washington Wizards signed Israeli Deni Avdija to their roster!
In the second half of the month, Israel vaccinated 10% of its population with the Corona virus vaccine, making it by far the most successful country in rolling out the vaccine. (As of today, the percentage is up to 12%.) A centralized medical system, advanced planning and pure grit made this possible.