Dear JCCA Community,

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, begins tonight at sundown. As with any new year’s tradition, it’s a chance to look forward to renewal and new beginnings.

Here at JCCA, each time a new resident steps on our campus or a child or family joins one of our programs in the city, we represent a new beginning for them––a chance to reclaim their lives, to make the year ahead better than the year behind. I’m reminded of the words of Ashley Brown, a PCS alumna who recently launched her own program to support vulnerable youth, “My message to survivors [of abuse] is: what happened to you wasn’t OK, but it doesn’t determine the rest of your life. There’s sunshine after the rain. There are people that care for you and you can still make something of yourself.” It’s our privilege and our challenge to bring that message every day to the wonderful and deserving people we serve.

Rosh Hashanah is followed by Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. It’s a heavy occasion. But I notice that it’s on the heavy days that we find the resolve to set things right and make hard and necessary changes. We know from our work with clients that we cannot move forward without acknowledging and processing our experience. Yom Kippur presents an opportunity to make an honest accounting and to clear the record, after which we are unburdened, and able to go forward with a new lightness—an important step for all of us, even those who don’t observe.

With the promise and joy of a new season, a new school year, and a new Brooklyn JCCA office, I wish you all a meaningful and peaceful New Year.