Two years ago the only way some of us could celebrate and observe our most ancient traditions was outside, spread out, under a tent to hopefully keep out the rain. Many of us could not even do that. We remained at home, alone or at best on zoom.
No handshakes, no hugs. No after-shul hubbub in the lobby. No kiddush, no communal in-person prayer, nothing familiar.
Time passes, and we adapt; we get vaccines, we learn more about the ways we interact or keep distance.
In April of 2020, like many of you, my wife and I sat at our table, celebrating our Seder alone, quickly, quietly. Unlike many of you, I live in a community with many nursing homes, two of which are on the same block and several more nearby. And I am very near a highway. Our Seder night was punctuated, every 30-40 minutes, by the wail of another ambulance, the flashing lights of another paramedic. It was, as the Hagada describes it ‘Leyl Shimurim’ a night of watchfulness. But this cacophony was not unique to our first night of Pesach. This went on for more than a month.
Time passes and we adapt. Our nights grew quiet again, and we relearned how to engage in our synagogue, at our parks & playgrounds. One thing that remains, though, are the lessons we learned.
As we approach the holidays we cherish and celebrate once again, we are blessed to be able to do so TOGETHER.
There are still a few weeks left before the High Holidays. There is ample time to get in the festive yet solemn mindset we have always been used to. Before that, I want to urge you to consider what we have learned in the last few years.
It boils down to one thing, really. Take nothing for granted. Nothing.
Security. Health. Safety. We won't have or keep them if we don’t do our part.
Family. Community. Peoplehood. Society. The glue that holds these together demands our work.
The refugee. The vulnerable. The young. The aged. These can’t meet all needs by themselves.
You can do your part. You can weave our community together. You can help those who are most in need. You can do all of this when you make a contribution to the Jewish Federation of Rockland’s annual campaign. In September, we will be reaching out with our High Holiday mailing. If you don’t receive our mailings, you can make a contribution HERE. Taking nothing for granted, our community needs your partnership.