Dear WJC Family,
I know you are reading this message on Friday, February 4th, but I am writing on Wednesday, February 2nd – It’s Groundhog Day! I know this day is related to some strange mythology involving the anxiety of large rodents and the length of winter, but for me it will ever be associated with the 1993 classic movie, Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. In case you are unfamiliar, the movie is about a man stuck reliving the same day again and again. It is funny and sad and philosophical, and I loved it the first time I saw it, as well as every subsequent February 2nd, when I have gone out of my way to watch it.
While the movie remains one of my favorites, truth be told, these last couple of years it has hit a little too close to home. There is the obvious—as the pandemic has trudged on it sometimes feels like we are caught in a loop reliving the same day or set of days again and again. And then there are other troubling loops, the cyclical bubbling up of Antisemitism, sometimes as delegitimization of the right of the State of Israel to exist, other times in celebrities stumbling over old, Antisemitic tropes, now apparently in book banning of educational Shoah literature (Various versions of “Maus” now occupy the #2, #4 and #11 bestseller spots on Amazon.com), and too often in outright physical attacks on Jews. We’ve witnessed all of these in the last couple of weeks, but also time and again throughout Jewish history.
And yet, though everyday may still feel like Groundhog Day, we move forward as we always have, pursuing our mission of “Tikkun” for the world and using Jewish learning, ritual and practice to bring forth the beauty and holiness in the world and the meaning in our lives. Thus it has always been and so it will hopefully be eternally for this eternal people—that’s the right side of Groundhog Day and I hope we will all remember to look to the good and sacred that comes again and again at least as often as we feel stuck in the mundane and the frustrating. It is how our faith is designed and has allowed us to make the most out of life through all the Groundhog Days.
And of course, as I mentioned in my message last week, if you are feeling a little stuck, let me know. We are here to help.
And finally, because he was next to me while I was writing this message, I asked Isaac (our son aged 9) if he had a message for the congregation. Isaac says, “Thank you for managing to come even in Covid. Special thanks to the people who work at the kids’ services who keep me entertained when I’m waiting for lunch instead of being bored in the main service.“ From the mouths of babes indeed! We do hope you will feel comfortable coming back to services soon as the omicron wave ebbs and fades – we miss you and would love to catch up during Kiddish.