Shabbat Greetings from Meredith Dragon 6.26.20

Gratitude and expressing appreciation is an essential and central tenet of Judaism. When we are living through challenging times, personally, communally or in our world, we often forget to recognize the good in the world around us.  We are so caught up in the trauma and difficulty that we lose sight of the good and beautiful.  
 
I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review about how people and leaders are regressing due to the COVID-19 crisis. This is a common phenomenon coming through a crisis when we are all tired, worn out, frayed around the edges and a bit cranky, me included.  With health fears, civil unrest, and an uncertain economic future, it is no wonder that we are all feeling spent. 
 
When we feel worn out and vulnerable, we are most challenged to see the good and feel grateful, but it is in these moments that gratitude and appreciation can be most helpful, to feel and express. With that in mind, as we go into Shabbat to recharge, I want to share a few thoughts and observations about our community that have been on my mind.
 
Through Federation, I have the wonderful opportunity to see our Jewish community from a purview that is unique and special.  At 30,000 feet I have witnessed immense generosity this year. In a time of great financial stress, our donors are giving generously. We are closing the Federation 2020 annual campaign next week and while he have sustained losses, our board approved allocations this week to keep our local agency distributions whole. We have cut the Federation budget to make up for losses, but I do not believe these cuts will compromise the work that our community has come to know, value and trust. 
 
In addition to the annual campaign, we have raised funds for ROCstrong, our security campaign and our COVID Relief and Recovery Fund. We have asked a lot of our community, and you have responded, very generously. I am so grateful to all of those people and organizations who give of their resources and time to keep our community strong.
 
We are blessed with amazing Federation leadership. Our board and executive committee members have led us through challenging times with vision and support.  It has not been easy. Many have devoted countless hours to our community. That does not go unnoticed and I am grateful for everyone’s willingness to pull together.
 
I am also blessed to work with incredible colleagues in our partner agencies and synagogues. These professionals, day in and day out, devote their lives to making our Jewish community accessible and interesting to all.  This crisis has pushed us all harder than we ever imagined and these professionals are weathering this storm with grace. I am grateful to work with leaders who challenge and inspire me in the best ways.
 
Additionally, our Federation staff are some of the hardest working, most dedicated professionals I know. I am honored to work with every one of them. Their spirit, creativity and dedication is unparalleled. I feel lucky to work with such amazingly dedicated professionals every day.  
 
I am grateful for all of our community members who have Zoomed, called, reached out and connected during these tough times. Many who are technologically challenged have embraced our crazy new reality bravely and beautifully. Thank you!
 
Thank you to all of you who have stepped up in every way to showcase what a remarkable Jewish community we have in Rochester. I see it. I know it. I love it and I am grateful for it. The work I do is a labor of love and I am honored every day to serve you.  
 
Thank you! 
 
Wishing you a peaceful and grateful Shabbat - 
 
Meredith Dragon, CEO

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