We are living through very difficult times and with faith, good sense, and proper precautions, we hope to not only persevere through the month of April and perhaps beyond, but also continue to study, pray, and provide community activities albeit more remotely than usual.
Unfortunately, we are not permitted to gather in large groups, so our Board made the difficult decision to close our synagogue building until the Corona virus crises is abated. Thus, we will not hold traditional services, classes, and other activities including bingo for the foreseeable future. This is especially painful during this time of year as we need to cancel the community seder on the second night of Passover. However, during this period, I will be leading a Friday evening service which includes my weekly d’var Torah which you can access by logging in tonight to your Facebook page at 7:30 pm (and continuing each Friday evening) and look for a post that says “JCC is now live” and click on that link. Or you can go directly to the JCC West Pasco Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jccwestpasco and watch the service as it is happening. If you miss the live feed, you can access the service afterward on our facebook page using the above link, click on videos.
If you do not have a copy of the Likrat Shabbat prayer book at home, or if you don't read Hebrew, not to worry! Just click on this link
to access the transliteration of the Friday evening service put together by the Fair Lawn Jewish Center, Congregation B'nai Israel in Fair Lawn, NJ. I will refer to it as we proceed through the service. I anticipate that the service will last 30-45 minutes and sincerely hope that you all join in.
This Shabbat weekend, we celebrate Shabbat HaChodesh which is the special Shabbat taking place each year immediately before the beginning of the month of Nissan which of course, is the month of Passover. Another special aspect of this Shabbat is that we finish reading the Book of Exodus with the double Torah portion of Vayakhel/Pekudei just in time for Passover---no coincidence! I'll have more to say about this when we all "tune in" at 7:30 pm tonight.
We are not permitted to say Kaddish in memory of our loved ones (my dear late son Nathan’s yahrzeit is on the 2nd day of Nissan), the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement suggests the following prayer which we will chant every Friday evening:
Master of the world, G-d of the spirit of all flesh, it is revealed and known before You that it is my fervent desire to praise Your name, and to remember and honor my beloved: father/mother/son/daughter/ husband/wife/partner/brother/sister/________[the name and relation of the person may be inserted]by reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish in the company of a minyan. Though circumstances prevent me from doing so, may my yearning and prayers find favor in Your eyes, and be accepted and received before You as if I had prayed that Kaddish. May you grant hope and healing to all who suffer, and may we soon be able to once again safely gather in holiness and joy. May Your name, Adonai, be elevated and sanctified everywhere on earth and may peace reign everywhere.
While we are spending more time in our homes, please keep in mind those that are feeling social isolation or might be ill (the mishabeyrach list is in this month’s Schrier). It is important that we support those who are most vulnerable during times like these and often the most critical need is to provide human contact. A simple phone call will grow a very long way to help fight depression and anxiety in our community. Also, continue to reach out to your friends and family with a human voice!
Hopefully, if the Center for Disease Control and federal and state restrictions are effective, we will be back together again soon. Feel free to e-mail me or call me anytime. and stay tuned for updates at least weekly and take care of yourselves and your friends and family. You are always in Chris’s and my thoughts.
Looking forward to seeing you "virtually" at tonight's service.