Describe a broader event in the world that has impacted you this year? How? Why?

Barack Obama was elected president. For me, it seemed like vindication that everything that I quietly believed actually held some credence. I've never felt in line with my leadership -- for me this ushers in a new era.

The election of Barack Obama. What a wonderful, historic event! The inauguration was fabulous, but the real moment that will always live in my mind was on election night, the moment the election was called.

The election of Barack Obama has reassured me that my voice matters in this country. I felt an intense need to get involved in the election process over the past year, and I did. Now I am productively involved in the health care debate.

 The election of Barack Obama... it has impacted me in a negative way. It showed me that all you need to find political success in this country is the support of the media and a lot of money for marketing. It is amazing to me how Americans could vote for a someone so inexperienced and so radical.

Our recession and economic downturn has made me fear for the future. Despite economic problems in the past, I never felt personally affected. Now I really feel like my financial future is not secure and it terrifies me.

The recession. I believe that professionally and personally it has changed the way people do things.

The Bernie Madoff scandal reinforced for me the magnitude that one person can have on a global level - and the devastating effects that can transpire from one individual. If only his time, energy and connections were used for something productive, our world and the state of the Jewish Community would be able to focus on other important and timely issues.

The financial collapse has actually been good for me. My job involves shutting banks down. It is terrible to say, but my business has never been better.

Ted Kennedy's death. It marked the end of an era for me and made me keenly feel the passage of time. He was a great man in many ways and a flawed man in many ways. I met him several times and it dawned on me that people in public life meet so many people in the course of their careers . . . he will be missed.

Strange as it is, Michael Jackson's death provided a place for my brother and myself to talk more openly and discuss things we normally wouldn’t.

It sounds ridiculous, but the death of Michael Jackson brought the world together in a way that very few other people could. Seeing the global impact of this one musician, the love and joy that he inspired, no longer made it seem like an impossible thing for one person to make a difference.

The death of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller. After a pregnancy scare in college, I have been firmly in favor of a woman's right to abortion, and knowing that many people oppose even medically necessary abortions so strongly they would kill someone really affected me. I would like to be a more material supporter of abortion clinics and their work.

Senseless killings. The murder of the Holocaust Museum guard. The murder of the Yale graduate student. Life is short and so difficult to understand.

The effects of the unusual wet weather in the Northeast, which has resulted in the tomato blight and numerous fungal infestations in the local farm produce. My own tomatoes had to be torn up, my CSA has been adversely affected in many crops, and my local organic raspberry farm lost all its fall berries. I have become even more aware of the interconnectedness of all life and even more concerned about the safety of our food.

The debate over healthcare has brought up all kinds of issues that normally simmer just below the surface in our society: racism, classism, xenophobia, stigma around illness in general, and plenty of others.

The killing and maiming of the media.

The recession in the US: the collapse of Lehman brothers, Bear Stearns and weakening of the financial markets. I lost my job at a huge financial firm, but I found another one in the healthcare sector.

Palestinian unrest in the Middle East—in particular, the Palestininan uprising in Neilin and Beilin. We live on the border and hear the rubber bullets, smell the tear gas, and see the Palestinians attacking our chayalim.

The recent 2009 presidential elections in Iran and the protests against its outcome that have segued to popular dissent of the current regime which continue to this day made me think back to 30 years ago, to the Summer of 1979.

This year on Sept 12th 2009, I gave up my birthday in order to raise money to build water wells for developing nations in need of clean water. We take clean water for granted here in the states because it is so accessible but there are millions of people dying around the world because they can't get something as simple as clean water.

The recession/economic crisis meant that the jobs I was supposed to take after school (and had spent seven years working toward in graduate school...) suddenly vanished. It was as if all the promise and opportunities that I'd spent years turning down because I was a student suddenly dried up at the exact moment I was free to take them. It was, in a word, devastating.

Operation ‘Cast Lead’ in Gaza. This operation was more than justified by continuous and unprovoked rocket fire by militants from Gaza on civilians over a period of years.