May 29, 2023 /
For the past several months now, we have been living with the uncertainty of Covid-19. Speaking personally, I have grappled greatly with how I should approach it. It is hard to live constantly in a world of fear and despair, feeling as though you are trapped in your home which seems to get smaller and smaller every day. On the other hand, if you ignore what is going on and pretend that everything is fine, then you could put yourself and your loved ones at risk.
I also know that like me, many of you have felt the chaotic whiplash of this moment. How one minute the world was fine and the next it was on fire, and as we move back to some semblance of normal, we start to wonder what happens next.
“Like a wave arising from the ocean’s dance,
So do we arise from the dance of God.
Like a wave returning from the rocky shore,
Its form given to chaos,
But its essence restored in the ocean’s unity,
So do we return from life’s end
Recycled in holiness
To dance once more.
Awesome and wonderous is the Dance of God.
This poem, Like a Wave Arising by Rabbi Rami Shapiro, has been on my mind lately. I love the imagery of the pull of the water back and forth. While some moments we can feel like we are being pelted, in others we have the calm openness of the expansive ocean.
What force is there in our lives that helps us away from the rocky shore? For me, the pull away is found with the ability to live with gratitude. There are so many things that I am grateful for in my life: my wife, my children, my family, and all of you. I am so grateful to be part of this wonderful community and I hope you join me in that gratitude.
For the last several weeks we have been figuring out how to connect with one another in great and wonderful ways, even if they aren’t in person. This month we will be launching a new phase of that connection with our Virtual Chavurot. Chavurah (the singular of chavurot) means a fellowship – a group of individuals who have come together around a similar purpose or goal. We are sending out a long listing of various chavurot that you can be a part of organized by the Temple.
Also, on June 1st we will be joining together to talk about community in the world of Zoom and unpacking how we have been dealing with Covid-19. These are just a few examples of how we are working to make sure that while we are physically distant from one another, we can still say socially and emotionally connected. I am truly grateful for the community we have and am proud to see how it has evolved and grown through what has been happening. Our Temple has survived wars, recessions, and a depression, and we have done so by leaning into challenges and remembering that sacred relationships are what are at the core of who we are, and to never sacrifice our values.
Stay safe and healthy,
Rabbi Philip Bazeley