The last time I was in a room filled with people…
…I was celebrating Purim in shul. The wild costumes and silly songs testified to the concept of ונהפוך הוא: the idea that things are turned on their heads.
Who knew that only a week later things would actually be upside down. The world is completely different now. For many of us, home is now the office and school is at home. We are physically apart, but may be more emotionally open and connected than we have been before. And yet, for those of us who feel isolated on a good day, now the isolation is compounded by not being able to be with friends and community in the same room.
Like everyone else, we at Eshel responded to the crisis by putting safety and health first. We necessarily postponed many events that could only happen in person. But we have also discovered new potential for connection, thanks to the internet. We trained our local leaders in conducting support groups and events online, and have created new opportunities for Eshelites to support one another.
I leave you with a few resources to help you take leave of this strange and worrisome week and welcome a Shabbat of respite and peace.
This article helps reflect on the toll this crisis has taken on you and those around you, and how you are handling it. In Getting Emotionally Organized in a Crisis, Pippi Kessler writes that “one of the paradoxes of crises is that they shock the system, which opens portals for potential change”. How might things have been changing for you these past few weeks?
I just heard a beautiful speech from my childhood rabbi, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, and I share his address to the Ramaz/KJ community, with you here in which he says “Let the path of destruction give birth to the seeds of reconstruction.” He asks not why this is happening, but what we can do now that it is happening. A small act of kindness can influence everyone for good. You can reach out to people who are alone and call your friends to stay connected.
Look in your inbox for invitations to Kabbalat Shabbat for our parents, and havdallah and a kumsitz for our LGBTQ members.
To a peaceful and healthy Shabbat, and with love from your Eshel family,