Shabbat Shalom ~ Emor

Dear WJC Family,

I’m concerned about you. I know we are all worried—it’s an anxious time. But today I am not worried about your physical health as much as I was (though those fears have not totally abated). Now I am worrying more about your emotional, spiritual, and mental wellbeing. As someone informed me after my message last week, May is National Mental Health month —probably a good time for a check-in.

I know you’re fine—we are all fine. I spend all day speaking to people who are fine “considering what’s going on” or are “just grateful to be healthy.” I’m fine too, thank you for asking. But I am starting to suspect that I am not truly healthy. Physically I feel great, but how could we go through this massive change in lifestyle, perspective, and sense-of-safety and not be at least a little traumatized? It’s easy to miss because we are all going through it together, but I am concerned that none of us are truly “fine,” nor will we be until we have some honest conversations about what’s going on in our lives, our families, our community and our nation.

Consider this an invitation. It is an invitation to call, text or email Rabbi Segelman or me to talk. It is an invitation to listen – just listen—to family members and friends with ears more attuned to heartache and distress, instead of the ones we often use that gloss over the negatives. And it is an invitation to help us think of more ways to connect with one another, reduce isolation, and make sure everyone knows “You are not alone.” If you have ideas for how we might accomplish this very important task, please share them with me.

If it is too difficult to speak your truth to us or someone else in your life, there are many valuable resources available to support our emotional and mental wellbeing. Check out The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention or  The National Alliance on Mental Health.

As I mentioned last week, one particular concern of mine is how couples with children at home are coping with these increased pressures. Next week I am offering a class designed for this group: Striving and Thriving as a Couple and Family when Together Time is All the Time. We will address questions like: “If we are together all the time, why do we feel so far apart?” “How do we pull ourselves out of a mutual guilt-spiral and turn it into something that builds more of a partnership?” and “When everything about our lives changes in an instant, how do we recognize what is most important and how to hold on to it?” Not to mention the oft-queried, “Am I failing as a parent if I don’t relish having every single meal with my children?” If this is you, I hope you will sign up! Or if you know anyone who might benefit from an honest discussion of the stresses on families right now, please let them know. You can register by emailing

One way you can connect with your WJC family is to join us for our beautiful Ta’am Shabbat (Taste of Shabbat) Service at 6:00pm on Friday night. Rav Jef will give the drash, and we will sing and pray together. Shabbat is starting late enough that we will have an “oneg” after the service at 7:00pm. Just like live services, you can leave if you don’t feel like staying—or you can hang out, join us for a l’chaim (or whatever is your pleasure) and have a little schmooze about the week. Then tune in again when we hold our weekly havdalah at 8:45pm on Saturday night—see the links below.

Shabbat shalom!

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