Take Heart! We are engaged in a mitzvah.
Shabbat Shalom! I don't have a lot of time to write before Shabbat, but I want to let you know that I'm thinking of everyone in our community. Many are concerned for their or a loved one's health, some are having to postpone long-awaited simchas, others of us are just stressed out by the news from hour to hour.
By now I hope you have seen the email from our president, Leyla Naksbendi, about our current building closing. If not take a look wherever those emails hide in your email folders! (There is also some info on the home page of this website).
Here are a few more words of encouragement from me personally:
In Israel, they talk about the challenges of the day as the "Matzav," the situation. I hope we can take heart from time to time by reframing our "matzav." We can consider that we are all participating in a huge mitzvah--and we are doing it with the whole community. We are doing the primary mitzvah in the Torah: Pikuach Nefesh, saving lives. For that, the Torah tells us to put aside just about any other mitzah.
By giving everyone more space and less contact for a while, by washing our hands frequently and well with soap, we are helping many people stay healthy and we are "moving the curve" of a growing epidemic. As a medical professional in my family told me, don't think worst case scenarios. Think that we are actively doing what needs to be done to keep our medical resources from becoming overwhelmed. (And she really emphasized the handwashing!)
That said, it can be isolating and sad to not have contact with one another regularly. We can get overwhelmed with the news and updates. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I'm going to try to stay connected with you! It may take me a while to get up to speed on some of this, but how about joining me for some Shabbat moments together, some time to have peace and to decompress from the news?
If you want to greet Shabbat with me tonight (Friday, March 13), I'll be livestreaming on Facebook (short, not a full service) at 6:30 Friday evening:
You can also meet me on Zoom for Torah study at 11am on Saturday, March 14.
Use the link below (fuller information in the email from Leyla):
Finally, if you just need to talk, you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call my home office from the number in the email. We also have a social worker available to give us emotional support, and her contact info. is in the email from Leyla. I may not be in the office, but I am "in" and here for you. Shabbat Shalom and hope to see you online!
Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan shares her thoughts (and some original photos) and invites your comments.