Shomrei’s Younger Generation Rises to the Coronavirus Challenge

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Last Friday, I had an alarming call from a member of Shomrei. Between bone-rattling coughs, she told me that both she and her partner had Covid 19 and were quarantined in their home. Both over 60, they desperately needed groceries and didn’t know whom to call since all of their friends are in the age group vulnerable to the Coronavirus. (The couple requested that their names be withheld.)

As coordinator of the Mensch Squad, I was braced for such calls to come eventually, but this was our first, and I warily reflected on the demographics of our squad – most of us tilt toward the same vulnerable age group as the couple who needed our help. Indeed, some of our more faithful members are in their 90s. Continue reading

In Memory of Carol Cathey

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I have met many people as a member of Shomrei Emunah, and all of them have taught me so much about their lives, about myself, and about our space in the world.

I first noticed Carol Cathey from a distance.  She came regularly to Shabbat morning services, and I was struck by how outgoing she was, how stylishly and yet comfortably she dressed, and how easily she navigated the synagogue with her walker. Continue reading

Passover Message

DSC_0213-EditAs we continue to wander in an uncharted wilderness of caution and concern, we are called to meet so many responsibilities to ourselves and to others. I am moved by the dedication and caring exhibited by all members of the Shomrei community, professional and lay members, both. I am very grateful to be part of this strong and healthy community!

An additional challenge facing us is to prepare for and to celebrate the holiday of Passover (Pesach), the first of our sacred festivals. This is a time when we usually feel the full weight of our traditions, religious and familial. These traditions add special significance to our lives and special sweetness. We have invested much energy and creativity over the years to find ways to honor those traditions while we also add our creativity and add novel (- a word that has taken on a dark resonance these days!) customs, songs, insights and foods to our seder. After all, this is the Festival of our Freedom!

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Prayers for Our Time

DSC_0213-EditPrayer is a deep response to crisis, even as it can also be a profound vehicle for expressing gratitude for the blessings we still enjoy, and it can be a strong reminder of the values we hold precious and that make our lives sacred. Many find prayer a way  to ground the self and calm the spirit.

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For Those Who Wish to Say Kaddish

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Saying Kaddish is one of many challenges Jews and Jewish communities are facing in this time of quarantine and social isolation. The practice of saying kaddish for a loved one is very meaningful and comforting for many people. But the practice is traditionally situated within a community – a minyan. In fact, that is the essence of kaddish – that the mourner turns to the community and calls them to join with the mourner in praising God (even in times of loss and sadness). So the lack of a minyan can be a very painful impediment. Therefore, I am sharing this prayer, adapted from one that was written by Rabbi Dov Edelstein z”l, originally for Kehillat Hod veHadar and later included in SIddur VeAni Tefillati of the Masorti Movement. Continue reading