How does one properly welcome a new year of BAR following a 2020 season that saw almost all excavation in the Holy Land halted due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus that has killed more than 2 million people worldwide? The pandemic has impacted every sphere of life and fundamentally changed the way we visit grocery stores and libraries, celebrate holidays, and attend school, church, synagogue, mosque, and events, including weddings, funerals, and the 2020 BAS Bible and Archaeology Fest.
We do as people have done since antiquity: We carry on as best we can, making the changes necessary to ensure our safety, while holding fast to the traditions and convictions that make us who we are.
That’s what we must do now in this janiform first issue of 2021—we look back and honor those we lost (and by now nearly everyone knows someone who has died from this terrible virus), and we must look forward steadfastly to a future that sees progress. We hope not to return to where we were, but to advance into a new, necessarily transformed world, making the most of what we have, forging new memories, making new discoveries, and working together to embrace change and create the communities in which we want not only to live, but also to thrive.
It is in this spirit of personal reflection, self-evaluation, and assessment of priorities that I announce that I shall be stepping down as Editor of BAR. This Spring 2021 issue will be my last.