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05/01/2020 03:11:20 PM


Michael Greenfield

Another week is coming to a close. Another Shabbat nearly upon us to provide that sustaining refuge, that sacred sanctuary in time. I think we could all use some Shabbat.

I've been sending these eJudaism emails to share links to the digital Jewish world, but not this week. I've hit a wall of digital fatigue. Am I the only one? Other than buying avocados I'm not much of a gambler, but I'd bet a few bucks that some of you are feeling the same. Instead of sharing links today, let's just spend a few minutes of pre-Shabbat oneg together. I'll tell you the highlights of my week. You can just listen, or you can tell me the highlights of yours if you like. And at the end I'll throw in one or two links.

This past Sunday, I watched a beautiful, wordless documentary on Amazon called Samsara. The camera moves from continent to continent but when it lingers it lingers on faces and tiny human moments. Watching it now, when the whole world is connected by illness and despair, it gave me a renewed appreciation of the ways in which we're all connected - to the people we love, to the people we fear, to the people we never gave a thought to - by our shared humanity.

On Monday, Elijah drove to a friend's house to honk in celebration of a birthday and leave a gift on the curb. On Thursday, we met with Bennett's guidance counselor on Zoom to talk about next year's classes and she was so excited to get to see his face. I'm finding the beauty in the added intensity of what were once more mundane moments.

Rabbi Levinsky and I spent time planning four virtual b'nai mitzvah services for May and June, and it gave us a chance to talk about what makes those services most meaningful and how we can preserve the core of that experience for our students. It can be exciting and scary to be part of reinventing how we do Judaism, but anyone doing any Judaism is always just the most recent link in a 3500 year chain of endless reinvention. If you're reading this, you're probably a link in that same chain. I'm honored to be in the same chain with you.

I can't call it eJudaism if I don't give you at least one link. Here's the link for tonight's Shabbat service at 6:30pm. Community is what's going to get us all through this. Community plus Shabbat is an even more powerful combo.

[reach out to us to get our streaming service link]

Lastly, I reached out to the poet and Torah teacher Alicia Jo Rabins to let her know I'd shared her work with you. Turns out she's been writing pandemic poetry. I found it to be incredibly moving, so I'll give her the last word. You can read more of these pandemic poems on this page. This one is called On Breathing.

I’m OK during the day, but at night I get scared,

Which makes it hard to breathe, which is a symptom

Of the pandemic, which is what scares me.

Well played, anxiety, my old friend. You’ve always

Warned me something like this might happen.

You’re a gift from my ancestors who survived plagues,

And worse. They wove you into my DNA to warn me,

So that I too might survive. Now that it’s happening,

Anxiety, I don’t need you any more. I need

The ones who gave you to me. Hear me, ancestors

Who lived through danger times: I’m ready for you now.

All these years I’ve carried your worries In my bones.

Now I need your love, your thousand-year view.

Tell me it’s going to be OK. Remind me you made it

Through, and we will too. Teach me to breathe.


Stay connected to your loved ones, be well, enjoy the beauty of Shabbat, and let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

Sun, May 26 2024 18 Iyyar 5784