Dear WJC community,
Two weeks ago, on a Tuesday night, I had an urgent need to come to evening minyan. My mother had been knocked over by a car the day before and was lying in the ICU. I had just finally started to feel like my old self after more than a year of debilitating health issues, other family members were telling me of serious personal concerns, and I desperately needed to have a chat with G-d. I wanted to have that conversation at a time and in a place where I thought G-d might be listening – if not to me, then to the minyaners around me. I joined some of the formal prayers for that very short service, but mostly I poured out my heart and cried. And it helped. I felt better and days later my mom was at home, on her way to a slow recovery.
A week later, I was back at evening minyan. This time with a great many of you. It seemed that many of us were pouring our hearts out and crying to G-d this time. How could something so horrific be happening in Israel to our family, our friends, our people?
The severity and likely duration of this horror is such that one evening service cannot make things better and may or may not even feel like it helped. But one of the greatest contrasts to our experience with the pandemic is that this time we are able to gather together. Comfort can be derived from the shared outrage and support of others. WJC’s sanctuary and chapel can be a place of refuge, of peace, and a safe space for mourning.
I am writing as chair of the WJC Spiritual Life Committee to invite you to leverage that space in whatever manner brings comfort to you. We know coming to minyan can feel intimidating to the uninitiated, but I know enough of the “regulars” to confidently state on their behalf that you are welcome and they appreciate you coming. We have a guide available in a box on the bookcase just inside the front entrance to the chapel – it will help you follow along if you are unfamiliar. People may not immediately approach you, either because they are saying their own prayers or feel a little awkward themselves, assessing whether you prefer to be alone with your thoughts. Please still know your presence is welcomed, and others will be happy to speak with you after services to the extent their schedules allow.
If our current service offerings are not meeting your needs and you are uncomfortable raising that concern directly with the clergy team, you are welcome to reach out to me. The fundamental purpose of the Spiritual Life Committee is to work with the clergy team in meeting the spiritual needs of this congregation. We meet regularly to reflect and act on that, and I am happy to hear how we can do better.
May we all find strength and comfort in our shared community at this time,
Chair of the WJC Spiritual Life Committee