Updated: Mar 5
Covid-19 has come into the world. Spread from one land to the next, one hand to the next. Invisibly. We can’t see it and yet we know it is there. We listen to the doctors and experts to keep ourselves safe. We cannot detect this harm ourselves-we need tests and experts. We rely on those with skills and learning beyomg our own to tell us what to do, how to stay safe. We walk around oblivious to its presence. For some of us, it might have already come and gone weeks ago. Some of us spread it to others without even knowing. Some of us will never be infected. And some of us will get sick. And I pray all of us will either stay healthy or make a complete recovery.
And within the context of all this uncertainty and commotion and fear and preparations for the worst: there is Jewish community. Shabbat still comes in this week. We will study the next Torah portion. We will honor the next holy day-together always in spirit even if we can not be together in person. We will look out for one another and check in on one another. We will deliver meals and help people get to where they need to go. We will protect each other by yes, cancelling large public gatherings, but also by keeping our doors open on Shabbat for those who are alone or lonely or need a place to just be with others. We keep our doors open so we have a place to say healing prayers for our loved ones, friends and the world.
The synagogue never closes. We might cancel a program or postpone an event but we are open to you and for you 24/7/365. This means you can call me in the middle of the night. I will drive to your home with soup. We will drop off groceries or a medication. We will help care for children or with housecleaning or laundry. I will help with those things. Rabbi means teacher but it also means having someone who has your back and is willing to walk side by side with you through fear or grief or anxiety or illness. You are never alone when you belong to a community like Kol Ami. We are small, nimble and able to respond, not out of an abundance of resources, but rather out of an abundance of love and care. My cell is 360-280-5372.
Our synagogue cell which also can revive texts is 425- 844-1604.
If you feel afraid, are in need of comfort or support, in need of resources of any kind. Reach out. Reach out!
The CDC can give you tips for how not to get Covid-19. I can give you advice as to how to survive the uncertainty and anxiety of this time.
1. Reach out. Do not be shy. Now is the time to make connections.
2. Hook into the cycle of Shabbat. No matter what is going on: we always have a reason to celebrate. Shabbat is our weekly holy day to honor all that is good.
3. If you are healthy, make yourself available to help others. Check in on your friends and family who have limited mobility or who have compromised immune systems. Make the most of your health by using it to do good during this time of fear and uncertainty.
4. Get outside. Go for a walk. Use the time you are not spending inside, with large groups, to be outside alone or with very small groups. Staying safe does not mean simply staying in doors. Go by a body of water. Take a deep breath. Start to ready your garden for Spring. Know that yesterday is not today and while we have no idea exactly what tomorrow will bring, we are 100 percent sure that Spring is on its way. Beauty and color and the buzzing of bees awaits us.
A poem to leave you with. May it provide you comfort. Print it up. Put it in a pocket. Tape it to a mirror. The world might seem broken and terrifying but know what our ancestor knew, even in the darkest times: God’s peace is available to us always in this world. It is with us in our fear and our celebration. It is in our life blood. It is in our hope and our song and our prayers. May God bless you and keep you.
When fears multiply
and danger threatens;
when sickness comes,
when death confronts us —
it is God’s blessing of shalom that sustains us and upholds us. Lightening our burden, dispelling our worry,
restoring our strength, renewing our hope — reviving us.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Wishing you nothing but health and peace and safety and joy-Rabbi Kinberg