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In Numbers and Thought... My first year in Northern Virginia

Shy Ashkenazi, Senior Shaliach on Tuesday, August 18, 2020

525,600 minutes, how do you measure a year?
In meetings, in content, events, in cups of coffee, in COVID and 5 months at home…

It has been a year since I arrived in Northern Virginia for my Shlichut. A year full of new things, some great and some, well, not so great. But one thing is certain – this is a year for the books.

I decided to share some statistics with you, to summarize this year in numbers…

1 year of me being in Fairfax and at the Pozez JCC.
2 – the number of times I voted in the Israeli elections while being here.
5 months of working from home and mostly online.
8 “Den Vibes” musical Havdalah events for young adults.
29 Pre- COVID-19 events and opportunities to meet new friends.
702 participants in those events.
78 online events since COVID-19 started.
2000+ participants in those events.
30 Agencies that I partnered with from NoVa and nationwide for different programs.
35 “Fill Up Your Cup” Israeli news updates
3 cups of coffee a day (on average)
Endless memories, and it is only the beginning!

In my time here so far, I’ve gotten to laugh with new friends of all ages, play music with babies, share deep conversations with teens, grab coffee with adults, share Shabbat dinners, Holiday celebrations, weekday meals, and special events.

In my time here, the world closed. I’ve received bad news, supported our community members from afar, as well as attended Zoom weddings and celebrated through a screen. In my time here, three of my friends here gave birth. In my time here, we had to adjust and find new ways of living.

In the short/long time I have been here so far, I have learned about community, coming together, bringing joy, and stretching our limits. I have learned about resilience and hope. I have learned about being there for each other and lending a hand.

I have learned what a Jewish community, based on strong values, shared goals, and caring looks like.

I have learned new ways to engage. I have learned new ways to listen. I have taken this time to start writing the book I have always wanted to write, taken the time to go out to nature, to run, to share a moment with a loved one.

In my time here, the distance from my family and friends in Israel has made me miss them so much, but I have also found a home in Fairfax. And in my time here, I have learned that sometimes 3 miles could be as far as 3,000 miles.

I am looking forward to my second year of Shlichut. High Holiday services might not be the same, and the JCC is not yet flowing with members. We all still have to deal with the “new normal,” but with it comes great opportunities to create, to grow, to share from afar, and to help one another.


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