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What a difference a year makes

July 10, 2008

What a difference a year makes.

This time last year I was in Israel with my wife Marci and the Atlanta Wexner ‘07 group for the culmination of our participation in the two-year Wexner Heritage program. To be more exact, we were in Jerusalem with our friends Jon and Elizabeth Barkan, celebrating Jon’s 39th birthday. We spent the evening in Jerusalem at dinner speculating on the due date of the Barkans’ new baby, whether Marci and I would have another child to join our two daughters, and what the coming months held in store for us.

Little did we know.

It has been 10 months since we celebrated the birth of Benjamin Barkan. And now it has been 8 months since we mourned the death of Jon Barkan. It has been 5 weeks since the birth of Jordan Cohen, our third child. And it has been exactly one year since Jon’s 39th birthday. One year since that evening in Jerusalem.

What a difference a year makes.

Jon maintained a blog about his life, his passions, his friends and most importantly, his family. In December, Jon stopped writing in his blog – far before the time when his story should have been finished.

Today, on what would have been his 40th birthday, I am going to begin writing mine. It will not be as funny, nor as colorful as Jon’s, and I am hoping that it will be more of a conversation rather than a blog. A conversation about Jewish questions, Jewish people and Jewish futures. But more about that later.

In looking back at the past 12 months – a year – I have seen joy, and sorrow, and joy again. I have seen highs and lows, feelings of tremendous audacity and tremendous humility. And I have seen everything in-between. I have learned some lessons, but I have also learned some of the questions that are revealed to you only when you are faced with the boundless drama of creation that unfolds through our lives.

But mostly I have learned that a year does make a difference.

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