January 11, 2022

Yogi Berra, considered by many to be one of the all-time great players and “characters” of the game (even if he was a Yankee), is attributed to have said, "It's like déjà vu, all over again."


I was thinking about this as I got up this morning and saw that the US COVID-19 hospitalizations surpassed the original high set last January. Even with the ability for people to get the highly recommended and scientifically developed COVID vaccine and boosters, and knowing that wearing properly fitting masks, over your nose and mouth can help prevent the spread of COVID, it feels like we are right back where we were last year. 


As the leader of a non-profit, whose organization thrives on providing services and programs to keep us connected to one another, as well as the larger Jewish community, the starts and stops of COVID make our work even more challenging. Decisions like whether we should shift our programs back entirely to a virtual format, cancel them altogether, offer them in a hybrid format, or other options are very difficult to make. Before a final decision is made, we take into account so many different factors and weigh them against one another (as if each carried equal weight). It is an arduous task, especially considering we want to do what is right, while at the same time providing opportunities that cater to as many of these factors as possible. 


I share all of this as a lead-up to next weekend’s 4th Annual Every Person Has a Name, our community’s 25-hour Holocaust Commemoration and Vigil. I wanted to let you know that this program will take place both in-person from the steps of Pasadena City Hall, as well as virtually. With the event taking place outdoors, and our ability to physically and socially distance participants and attendees, while at the same time asking everyone to wear masks, and in talking with City of Pasadena officials, we feel we can provide those who wish to attend in person, a safe environment, and provide a way for those who prefer to participate virtually the ability to do so as well. 


This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre and we will be reading the names of the approximately 33,771 men, women, and children who were murdered during this horrific incident at a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev from September 29 – 30, 1941.


If you are out and about next Saturday evening, or Sunday please stop by and sit for a few minutes to listen as the names are read. You can also help spread the word and encourage others to stop by as well. 


And for those who won’t be out, please watch the ceremony and name reading on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jewishsgpv). You can also help us get the word out by sharing the link with family and friends and encouraging them to watch as well. 


By participating in events like this we help ensure that the importance of the Holocaust is not forgotten, no matter how many years pass, as memories are passed on to the next generation. Take this opportunity to help us safeguard the memory of the Holocaust, promote tolerance, and protect the society in which we live.


Continue to stay safe and we look forward to seeing you next weekend, either in-person or online, at Every Person Has a Name.


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