It’s Our Only Choice: Responding to the Coronavirus

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A message from Rabbi David J. Gelfand

We are surely all beyond anxious in the midst of this pandemic. When the world is too much with us, we rabbis and our cantor habitually say that our hearts and our doors are open to you. But we are told to close our doors and to practice physical distancing which is the antithesis of our normal Jewish response. These days are not normal. We are all about building bridges and creating community. We strive to be a kehillah kedoshah, a sacred community, often filled with smiles, handshakes, hugs and even kisses. So we send with this message virtual smiles, handshakes, hugs, and even kisses. We want to be here for you but in a new and different way – welcome to our virtual synagogue universe!

Our ECLC and our Religious School are up, live and sharing via cyberspace and striving to maintain and build connections. We have begun at noon this week and soon on Shabbat. Know that our website is going to be filled with lots of invisible points of connection meant just for you! In times of crisis we find comfort in a tradition that’s thousands of years old. We’ve survived trials and tribulations, epidemics and pandemics, and we never give in to despair! The Jewish Bible describes us as “aseeray hatikvah – prisoners of hope.” So when you feel constrained or restricted, as I sure do, let’s remember that we have no other option but to hope. The best antidote to anxiety and fear is hope and helping others. It’s the only way forward … and forward we must, even when we aren’t sure of the way. Together as a community we’ll continue to learn, to pray and to support one another. It’s our only choice!


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