Dear WJC Family,
We’re going to be okay. I just wanted to remind you of that, because there are lots of people and organizations out there sending us a different message. Don’t get me wrong—these are risky times in many ways and I get that things feel different than they did a few months ago. They are different, in fact. And yet there were lots of risks involved in living six months ago too —bad things happened to us and to people we knew. Why does this all feel so different now?
I believe that part of it is the uncertainty. Six months ago, we felt like we had a pretty good handle on the risks around us and could, therefore, manage them to a level that made us comfortable. Now, it’s not that so much has changed, but that we are disoriented and unsure how to manage the risks. The questions before us are new. A few months ago the question was: What am I comfortable doing, (knowing the risks in the world)? Today the question is: What are the risks and how do I reduce/manage them? That can indeed be paralyzing. The constant headlines, talking heads, and leaders adding anxiety and confusion do not help. This question is becoming all the more poignant and difficult as regulations are reduced and activities once again open up to us.
The truth is, however, that these are not new circumstances for the Jewish people. Much of Jewish wisdom is built to deal with a history that included an uncertain future. One lesson we learn from that history is that the more our decisions are based on core beliefs and values, and the less on the changing times and outside stimulus, the more steadily we will be able to guide ourselves and our families. Whether it is how to manage life in the time of coronavirus or how to make a difference regarding systematic inequality and injustice, the first question should not be what are others doing or saying. Rather, we should be asking: What are my core beliefs and values? What do I learn from the Torah and my faith and my family and my life experience, and how do I stay true to those principles? By guiding ourselves in this way we can stay on course even when we are navigating in a fog. For more on using Jewish GPS, and how we glean that lesson from this week’s Torah portion, check out my weekly Torah Talk, “Leadership with Values” by clicking on the video link below.
We are looking forward to sharing Shabbat with you. Please note that our Ta’am Shabbat – Taste of Shabbat service – will begin 15 minutes earlier, at 5:45pm. Havdalah will again be at 9:20 Saturday night.
I am pleased to report that our first Saturday morning in the chapel was successful. We will continue to experiment with how to make those services as meaningful and engaging as possible. This Shabbat Cantor Ethan will join us from his home (all carefully orchestrated to comply with the rules of Shabbat and the halachot of being the prayer leader), and I know I am looking forward to hearing his beautiful voice leading parts of our service once again. I hope you will join us virtually at 10:00am tomorrow. For a reminder of how to log in in advance click here. And remember we have siddurim and chumashim available for contactless pick up here at the synagogue if you need one to follow along. Also, if you are interested in attending a Shabbat morning service (currently limited to 12 participants) let me know in an email.
Wishing all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day and…
See you in shul or online,