Weekly Bulletin: April 13

Upcoming ONLINE Gatherings

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Yizkor Service

Rabbi Andrea will lead a virtual Yizkor service on Zoom this Thursday, April 16 at 10 AM. If you would like to participate, please email rabbi[at] to receive the link. The link will be sent out moments before the service.

Message from Rabbi Andrea

From the Mishna Pirkei Avot Chapter 4, Mishna 23, we learn: Rabbi Shimon ben (son of) Elazar said, do not appease your fellow at the time of his anger, do not console him at the time his dead lies before him, do not ask him [to regret his oath] at the time of his oath, and do not attempt to see him at the time of his downfall.

I am very loath to give advice in a time where much of the grief we must confront is still in front of us. Many of the losses we may experience are still unfolding. Advice which is from a position of "I know what will help you. Here's what you should do" is likely to fall on deaf, or perhaps numb ears. Rather words that come from the heart, go into the heart. I will try to speak from the heart.

We are experiencing multiple emotional and spiritual challenges. Some of us are confronting medical challenges as well. We have all lost our routine schedule and some (perhaps false) sense of mastery over our lives. We may have income loss and financial burdens. We have grief and anticipatory grief. We have fear and anticipatory fear. We have rage. Many of us are struggling with isolation and other burdens that were with us from BC, before corona virus.

All this is real. The tool that I use to stay aware and open-hearted is quiet. I sit quietly and watch the racing thoughts. I do not push them away. Each of them is a messenger from my true concerns and true feelings. All those that I mentioned above: grief, isolation, rage and fear. I try to quietly watch and acknowledge these messengers. With this effort, for me, a sense arises of a greater spaciousness. When I fear death - which we will all face in time - in that spaciousness, I remember that I am a body AND a soul. There is a part of me out of reach of death. When I face grief, in that spaciousness, I remember that I am part of a whole body of humanity that is in this with me. My body of grief is a drop in the ocean of all the griefs, past and present. I feel MY portion of the grief in the great sea and I remember the great sea. When I feel isolated, in the spaciousness, I remember that I am together in this moment with everyone else in a more uniquely poignant way. In a way, we have never been more together. When I feel rage, in the spaciousness, I feel the sorrow and the great tragedy of all human foibles that increase human suffering. In accepting this, I can open the door to compassion: "Oh the humanity."

Our grief for our losses, collectively, is experienced, as it were, by the Creator. God too, feels isolation, grief, rage and fear, so to speak. When we do not abandon our true feelings, we are not abandoned. We are in fact connected with the heart of one who made us.

From The Sacred Fire, Torah from the Years of Fury 1939-1942, translated by Rabbi J. Hershy Worsh: There are times when a person wonders about himself thinking: "I am broken. I am ready to burst into tears at any moment..." He is lost inside his introspective, self-analytical confusion...the pain and grief he suffers over his own isolation, alone, can break a person...but the crying a person does together with G!d makes him strong. He cries and takes strength. He is shattered and then emboldened... "

How to Attend Virtual Services and Classes

We are grateful that we have the option to gather for services and classes in virtual spaces. Many of us are learning how to use this technology for the first time, and we wanted to review some of the details about how to participate. 

We are conducting most services and classes over Zoom, which is a videoconferencing software that is free to use. Please carefully read the details of the event you want to participate in. Different events have different leaders and most events will contain the email address of the leader so you can be directly in touch with them. If you email the office, we will do our best to connect you but we may not see your email in time. 

For the events that Rabbi Andrea is leading, she will send out the link via email several moments before the class, so as to best accommodate last-minute signups. Other leaders will have their own systems.

Thank you all for your participation in these virtual gatherings, and many thanks to our community members who have stepped up to lead! 

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