The word of the year.
As someone who constantly uses reference sources in my work, you’d think I’d know that every December various dictionaries (such as Merriam Webster, etc.) officially determine which word will be the “word of the year”. But I didn’t.
It wasn’t until I happened to read an article about 2020 (a year so full of ups and downs...ok, most people would probably say overwhelmingly full of “downs”), which mentioned this unique distinction, that I became aware of The Word of the Year. And that word, according to most sources, is “pandemic”.
At Yad Eliezer we certainly saw some of the many detrimental results of the year’s pandemic. We saw how quickly countless parents, stable breadwinners, became unemployed and their homes, unstable. How businesses rapidly went out of business. How mothers and fathers were forced to turn to us as basic grocery purchases became increasingly difficult to make. How electric bills grew, with no funds to cover them. How the most average daily expenses, ones that used to be affordable, became completely unaffordable.
We saw how poor families began to suffer even more than they already had been. How their struggle to just stay functional on low incomes (such as stipends, melamed paychecks and daycare worker salaries) only escalated as schools closed and jobs disappeared. We saw parents trying to make simchas despite their situations but failing to do so, even on the smallest scale.
And of course, we saw terrible illness.
But we saw other things, too. Incredible things that can also be described with words-words that are Yad Eliezer’s Words of the Year.
At a time when people all around the world are facing new challenges including significant financial ones, we saw extreme generosity. We saw donors quickly contributing to our Corona Relief Campaign, reaching out to help those whom the pandemic has so drastically affected. We saw tzedakah come in to provide groceries for households and formula for hungry babies. We saw funds being dedicated to helping needy IDF soldiers. We saw joy on the grateful faces of parents newly able to make their children’s weddings and watch their sons put on tefillin. We saw relief as food vouchers were distributed for holidays. As winter coats & blankets were (and are still being) distributed for warmth.
All of these actions and others (SO many others) showed us the incredible kindness of our donors. And their compassion.
As 2020 comes to a close, despite having access to dictionaries full of words, it’s difficult to describe just how thankful we are for all the assistance we’ve been privileged to provide to Israel’s neediest families this year. We all hope that 2021 will bring with it better news, healthier, happier days and more Yad Eliezer words of the year.