Message from Jewish Communities 

COVID-19 and the Jewish Community

 

Quoting Rabbi David Edleson at Temple Sinai in S. Burlington:

 

Jewish tradition has some key teachings for what we are living through:

 

1.To save a single life is to save an entire world.

 

2.Faith, daily prayer and meditation can help us to remain grounded and calm even in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty.

 

3.Much is out of our control, but we must do what we can to reduce risk of harm to others.

 

4.Even when facing difficult challenges, the key is not to be afraid.

 

Cancellations keep coming in. Please check with your synagogue, the organization or venue for the latest information.We have included the updates we have so far. As we practice "Social Distancing" please make sure to use social media and the TELEPHONE to keep in touch with your community. Some people are experiencing different levels of anxiety--in some cases extreme anxiety-- and loneliness will become a problem for other members of our communities. If you know someone who lives alone, even if they are not your special friend, reach out, check on them and engage in safe social interaction.

 

Why is the community doing this? Are we over-reacting?

The goal is to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we don't overwhelm our healthcare system. The graphic below explains what we have to do. Even if you are not at particular risk, you can spread the virus. Social distancing and limiting our exposure to others will slow the pandemic down. Just as many may become ill, but it won't happen all at once. We don't have enough , hospital beds, ventilators or health -care workers so let's work together for the good of all (a very Jewish value!)

(Rabbi Micah in 2016  at a Leket Yisrael growing field collecting “pe’ah”)

All non-profits, including our synagogues and JCVT are going to have a difficult time now since the pandemic has become an economic disaster. Please continue to support the Jewish community, including JCVT, as long as you are able. Stay healthy and keep our Jewish institutions healthy so that we all can continue to support the community.

This portion does spend time on the subject of what life may be like when the Israelites come to the next stage of settlement rather than wandering. The challenge is not to become complacent or forget the knowledge we had gained in the wilderness. That taught the power of access to food, such as having too much, of having too much of what we think is good until it overflows us, of thinking we do not have enough when we really do, and the blessing of having just enough. We are for the most part privileged to have access to healthy food. But not everyone in this world in our own day and even in our country has the same access. This has been heightened in the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, and as it continues to effect us, the effect upon food security will also remain. By sharing in a blessing when we are sustained by our meals, may we all increase our awareness of those who lack enough and those who lack access to sustainable and healthy food choices. Let us all pray for the time when there are no longer food deserts and a lack of nourishment, but a time when we are all sustained. Perhaps you can help by providing resources to the Bennington Food pantry or if you are able to make a donation to Mazon, the national Jewish organization to fight hunger. We are all in this together!   

Another possible practice is awakening one's self to ever-growing gratitude. Do you have a practice of saying a blessing or “saying grace” before or after a meal? Has it changed during these recent months of new behaviors? If you do not have something you already offer, perhaps you can try saying “We have eaten, we are nourished, and so we give thanks.” as short meditation blessing at the conclusion of your meals.

 

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Micah 

      Rabbi Micah's Ekev D'Var continued

Congregation Beth El  107 Adams Street  Bennington  VT  05201

 

Tel: 802-442-9645     Email: cbevtoffice@gmail.com

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