While recently dropping off my oldest son at college for his freshman year, I became filled with nostalgia, remembering when he was born and the moments that led to this momentous occasion. I couldn’t help but wonder if we taught him enough, gave him enough insight, and raised him with the perfect combination of intellect and street smarts, but also kindness and values. I looked at the faces of the other parents and realized they were all thinking the same thing.
I know I am fortunate, because our son was raised in our amazing Jewish community – from Jewish preschool to Jewish day camp, from Jewish day school to Jewish overnight camp, from Jewish high school in Atlanta to Jewish high school in Israel, from sports at our JCC to JCC Maccabi Games all over the country. Our son had a community that nurtured and cared for him, infusing him with a deep connection to our Jewish faith, a strong love of Israel, and most of all, lifelong friendships and a meaningful network. I feel confident that he will go far because of the people who have mentored and guided him within our Jewish communal ecosystem. I know the people who guided and mentored me are still doing so, and I am eternally grateful to them.
As we ready our hearts and minds for the High Holy Days, I know for many this is a period of reflection and introspection. I hope you will reflect on how the Jewish community has been meaningful in your life or the lives of your children. If you have had a particular experience with a mentor, I hope you will thank them.
My wish for all of us is that we have a happy, healthy, and sweet new year. May we continue to find even more ways to impact and connect with each other in 5782.
Jared Powers is the CEO of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.