It has been a nonstop month of whirlwind decision-making and successive changes to my life and my work since my return from my incredible experience in Israel at the beginning of August.
Now, just a month beyond my summer travels leads me into the period of time when g*d asks us to continue to better the world and enter into the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) with abundance and recognize the complications that often stem from that abundance during the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Oye, the Jewish High Holidays truly begin tonight!
As for these changes, I mention, well, I like to believe that I take change with a positive stride. I recognize changes as both opportunity and challenge as an inevitable part of each year. Just like the High Holidays for me, some changes, global and personal or numerous and sparse are both equally significant in my day-to-day life and still difficult to express how they make impact.
As for a personal transition, I have chosen to downsize and leave my home for the past four years in the heart of the gayest place on earth, The Castro for a quieter home without flat mates. After applying for about 35 apartments my 11-year-old Chihuahua, Diego and I have found a new small space to call home a mere 17-minute walk away (where Castro Street meets the rest of the non-gay world at the base of Buena Vista Park) and I move this Friday!
Undergoing its own set of changes is my work life with the Jewish Community Federation. Of course disappointing on many levels is how our community beneficiary agencies and our own infrastructure have not proved immune to the global economic challenges impacting the philanthropic world. Not only did we have to reduce funding to many in our community but with our own organizational restructuring, came staff that had to be cut in order to continue to functioning efficiently and effectively. It was difficult having to say goodbye over the summer to so many of my friends.
In late July, I felt the impact of these changes again when I visited the tiny third floor walk-up to 400 square feet of safe community space that the Gay Galilee, the name of the Kiryat Shmona GLBT Community Center, occupies. We have supported this volunteer-run organization since its inception over a decade ago and today they are at the brink of closing its doors due to a lack of resources to pay the rent. The volunteers and teens that fill the center and attend its programs insist that the center is their only real life connection to GLBT community outside of traveling hours by bus to Tel Aviv.
Of course, amongst these changes, I have new opportunities. There are a few new challenges to consider over the next year in regards to my work with the LGBT Alliance . We have to create and implement a strategic plan, we’re collaborating with new departments and adjusting to working within a new infrastructure. Yet, ultimately, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to continue working within the community. Some of you have asked specific work related questions and to best answer them, I’m utilizing an existing community page forum to discuss or ask questions about the LGBT Alliance.
With an abundance of time for reflection and prayer with my chosen family at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav this evening, I’ll be able to take the opportunity to contemplate more broadly on the juxtaposition of plenty vs. want. It’s a struggle I’ve witnessed locally in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Israel and around the world. Luckily, I feel I lean toward plenty.
May 5771 bring you, your community and your family all the blessings of good health, prosperity, joy, love and peace. L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’taihatemi…
Folks enjoying community conversations, food and entertainment at an Annual Gay Galilee Picnic organized by the GLBT Community Center in Kiryat Shmona, Israel.