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5781 is Different, But Not More Difficult

09/15/2020 12:15:10 PM


Rabbi Ted Feldman

Yes, this Friday evening, as we welcome the year 5781 on the Jewish calendar, we may be asking a similar question to our spring festival of Passover. Why is this year different from all other years? Need I give all of the answers right now? It sure is different, different for our lifetimes and, in many ways, different than the lifetimes of the people who preceded us. Different, I said, not more difficult, except that we are experiencing it now. That's why the colorful greeting at the top of this email...we need some brightness in our lives.

What is, perhaps, historically different is that we won’t be able to gather in the Community Room of B’nai Israel Jewish Center as our community has done since the building was built in 1925. This year we will be looking at faces across small screens and hearing the service piped through the speakers of our computers, tablets, or phones. Recognizing that gathering that way and making the virtual world our sacred space comes with its challenges, services will be much shorter and some or many of the familiar elements will be absent. I would invite you to please join us on time, if possible, following the schedule available through the other emails. The link for the service will work for all of the services listed, including the Family Services. I will be joined by Fredi Bloom, Jef Labes, and Diana Faraone in creating what we hope will be a meaningful experience for you.

Given all that is happening in our world right now, it is so important that we strengthen ourselves by each other’s presence for the holidays. This will be a profound opportunity to pause from the daily confronting of challenges and search inside ourselves for the resilience that permeates Jewish teachings as we face the world.

While the themes of repentance and renewal permeate the liturgy particularly on Yom Kippur, those ideas, if brought into our lives, open our hearts and minds to add kindness, caring, and compassion into life. It is through those vehicles that, I believe, internal strengths are found.

Last year, on Yom Kippur, we bound ourselves together using a long string as community connected to Torah. That connection does not need to go away because we are separated into the safety of our homes. Please join us and help make these holidays not only different, but memorable as a source of strength.

May this be a year of health, safety, resilience, prosperity,…a year of deeply breathing fresh, life sustaining, clean air.

Shana Tova
Rabbi Ted Feldman

Thu, June 1 2023 12 Sivan 5783