Shomrei’s calendar bears a scar. On Friday March 13, 2020 and Saturday March 14, all the Shabbat services were listed as “CANCELED.” The Shabbat of Ki Tisa was our lockdown date. The following Saturday the “Sharing Shabbat” services began. Broadcast live on YouTube, Rabbi Greenstein, would go to the shul, all alone and lead an adapted one hour service in front of a web camera. How strange it must have been for him, to lead prayers out loud with no response or feedback. In fact, without even the sure knowledge the automatically triggered technology was working or anyone was listening.
But it did work and people were listening.
In the blur that was this past year, I have more and more trouble remembering my level of fear in that first month or two. No one could get a mask. We were told they “wouldn’t help us” anyway. Yet on Shabbat, there was this portal through which I could return. I could be reminded of a better time, the time before. The familiar voice and melodies I was used to were a salve. The fact that it was live made it feel somehow more present. While not at all the same as gathering together as a congregation, it was comforting. And it was a continuation. Such continuations have great meaning in stressful times.
Thank you Rabbi Greenstein. Thanks for going alone to Shomrei 68 times for Shabbats and holidays and standing in an empty room. Thank you for being flexible enough to take that on while at the same time ensuring we were doing what we could to honor and keep the Sabbath.
Yasher K’oach Rabbi.
Note: The Sharing Shabbat service has ended. We’re moving back indoors for services this coming Shabbat. The service will be “Hybrid” meaning people can come in-person or watch on YouTube. RSVP is requested but walk-ins are allowed. The signup and safety rules can be found at http://shomrei.org/inperson