Counting our Blessings in a Difficult Year

This article is reprinted from BCC’s newsletter, Gvanim, vol. 49 no. 2, November/December 2020, Cheshvan/Kislev/Tevet 5781.
Rabbi Jillian Cameron


As we approach the end of 2020, let us take the time to reflect on a year we never could
have imagined when it began. While 2020 has certainly challenged us, we must count our blessings as well. We have grown as a community, come together in new ways, shown incredible creativity, celebrated High Holy Days and each Shabbat with full joy, cared for one another, and continued to be a bright rainbow light of welcome, gladness, peace and inclusivity in our community and across the world! While challenges still remain, let us strive to seek balance and enter into our season of gratitude and dedication with a renewed sense of purpose and connection to our special community.

As many of you know, when a Jewish community welcomes a new clergy member, there is often a ceremony marking that transition, an Installation. It serves as a confirmation and a celebration of the community and the new leader and is often scheduled within the first year, even the first six months, of a new clergy member’s arrival. There is a rich history of these ceremonies, and each community adds their own unique flair. It is a time to be together, to mark the beginning of a new chapter and all the promise, excitement and anticipation that accompanies it — a moment in time that brings together our past, the present and all the potential we see as we look into the future.

I imagine my installation not as a celebration of me but rather of BCC and the covenant we share in this sacred community. I imagine us all together, marking the passage of time, reverent of those leaders who brought us to this moment and excited about all the future has it store for us, all of you and me. And so when our wonderful Board of Directors asked me about my installation here at BCC, I knew immediately that I wanted to wait until we could all be physically together and truly celebrate our new chapter, in our own space. I don’t know when this might be, but I am willing, even eager, to wait; for what a celebration we will have, when we can all safely join together, in relief, in delight, in gratitude. It’s worth waiting for.

We will have countless opportunities to celebrate in our community before then, each Shabbat, each moment of connection, each time we reach out to one another, as we have been doing for much of this year already. Like so many of you, BCC has quickly become my joy, my source of spiritual connection, a safe and creative space, a friendly virtual embrace, a well of deep learning and empathy, and my home. I know each of you feel the same way for your own reasons. Our future is bright, like the candles we will soon light on Hanukkah, increasing each night, a beacon of hope leading us forward.