It’s been a totally bizarre and completely busy couple of weeks. I know that each of you is experiencing exactly the same thing, in each of your own unique ways. This pandemic is something we did not expect, and still don’t exactly know how to deal with.
As a congregational Rabbi, I find myself spending much of my energy learning how to do my job in new, uncharted territory.
So many questions. ￼How do we touch each other when we need to stay physically separate? How do we retain our social relationships when we must stay at arm’s length or behind closed doors? And hardest of all, how do I continue to open sacred, spiritual space for others, when I sit alone in my home staring at a computer screen?￼
￼￼In my weekly Torah class this week (now held virtually) I mentioned that we are just like the rabbis of the Talmud. They too were faced with a situation in which their entire world was turned upside down. How could they continue to be Jewish, to practice Judaism, when the Temple no longer existed, when the sacrificial rites could no longer be performed?￼
They chose to do something radical. They rewrote the book on how to practice Judaism. The basic structure remained the same, but the walls inside the building were moved, removed,￼￼ reconfigured. Prayer replaced sacrifice. Synagogue replaced temple. Rabbis replaced priests.
￼It occurs to me that today we are following in their footsteps. The Reconstructionist, Renewal, Reform, and Conservative movements are now Reconstructing, Renewing, Reforming, and Conserving Judaism for the present and perhaps for the future. My Christian and Muslim colleagues are doing the same within their traditions.
My prayer for all of us — Christian and Jew, Muslim and Hindu, all who reach out to the divine in holy communities –￼￼￼ that we can do this holy work with creativity, open hearts, and open minds, as we face the challenges of an entirely new reality, with an abiding love and respect for the traditions we have inherited and in the full knowledge that we must find creative and meaningful ways to rise to the challenge.
This wonderful graphic came from the FB page of the inimitable Sandra Boynton. Cruise on over for more of her work!