Pandemic: Promise the World Your Love

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A message from Rabbi David J. Gelfand

This poem, “Pandemic” is from the “Jewish Journal” originally published during the Spanish Flu of 1918 and it speaks to me as we are hunkered down with our families and as the dedicated, clergy and staff of Temple Israel of the City of New York, striving to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic, and creatively evolve as a virtual synagogue community, striving to be a kehillah kedoshah, not in spite of these unprecedented times, but all the more so, because of them. Please know that we continue on, yad b’yad, hand in hand (just without touching for a while), as a family of families, committed to affirming life, even when we are physically apart. Sending healing thoughts for courage as we face the unknown, alone and together, to “Be well! Stay well!!” And let’s promise each other and the world our love!

Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
Know that our lives are in one another’s hands.
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils of compassion that move, invisibly, where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love – for better or worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live.

So, let us passionately reach out from our hearts and say, “L’Chaim“!

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