A Havdalah Goodbye and a New Beginning

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The election is now weeks behind us, and Jewish Community Action is already busy mapping out next steps, cultivating alliances from the campaign, and continuing ongoing projects. Nonetheless, JCA staff and members know that a bit more reflection—and, of course, celebration—never hurt anybody, so we gathered this past Saturday evening at Mount Zion Temple to discuss our greatest accomplishments from the campaign, as well as our hopes for JCA’s future.

The mood was overwhelmingly positive. Again and again, attendees expressed pride in JCA’s work, and in the strong, organized Jewish community of which they now feel a part. In particular, many members thanked JCA leaders and staff for having the good judgment and courage to campaign against both the marriage and voter restriction amendements, an undertaking that many allies and community members thought unwise. But in spite of what the skeptics thought—that JCA’s involvement in one campaign would inevitably detract from its involvement in the other—JCA members and staff now agree that, in merging both efforts, the whole Jewish community was strengthened. Not only that, but JCA’s work on the two campaigns contributed to two huge victories, and demonstrated that an organized Jewish voice for justice can do incredible things. And as the program on Saturday concluded, the consensus was that JCA is ready for the next incredible challenge, and an even more incredible victory.

In the midst of Saturday’s event, immediately following powerful reflections from some of JCA’s most active members and right before a more in-depth discussion led by JCA organizers, we paused for Havdalah, a ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and ushers us into the new week. As I stood and sang with my coworkers, and the members and volunteers who made JCA’s recent campaign so successful, I couldn’t help but feel that we—as an organization and a community—were reciting Havdalah for more than just the previous week. On that evening, as we shared our stories from the past campaign and our optimism and energy for the future, we also said goodbye to the work we did together for the past 18 months, and, together, we welcomed the work still to come.

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