When nothing else in the world feels like it used to, these are things you can count on. And you can do them all from the safety of your own home.
- GRATITUDE IS ONE THOUGHT AWAY: You can see your life in terms of what you don’t have, wish for the “good ol’ days,” or you can find the blessings great and small in the new normal. Put a bird feeder out and watch the beautiful visitors that come to your home. Start saying a blessing before you eat and really think about all the people who helped bring that nourishment to you.
- YOU HAVE GREAT POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY: There are big problems in the world that weigh heavily on your heart. You don’t have to look far to see that things aren’t as they should and could be. And you could spend hours each day reading the newspaper, getting more agitated and overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges we face. You can also use that energy and that care in your heart to participate in making alternative facts on the ground. Practice one random act of kindness today. If you need ideas, our Caring Community can provide you with a way to make a difference to someone in our temple family.
- REPAIR: There are many ways that you’ve fallen short in your life. Take this precious time to explore and address the ways you can change for the better. Call that family member from whom you are estranged. Write a letter of apology to someone you may have wronged. Work on forgiving the people who have wronged you. Forgiveness can take years. Explore whether you can soften your heart a little more towards the people who have disappointed or hurt you. Remember what theologian Lewis Smedes said: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.”
- CONNECT: You may feel fatigued by all the zooming or google hangouts, so find other ways to stay in meaningful connection with others. It is vital to your mental health and the person you reach on the other end needs it, too. Good old-fashioned telephone calls are a welcome change and you can do them while walking your dogs in the neighborhood. I’ve enjoyed catching up with so many of you in just that way. Large zoom meetings might not be enjoyable, but Facetiming with a friend or another couple over wine and cheese can be a lovely time. Choose a person to include in your “pod” of safe people and have socially distant visits while the weather stays warm. Beware: if you go into these encounters thinking they are “virtual” connections instead of real ones, you might miss the real connecting that can happen.
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER DOING THE BEST WE CAN: You can still find sanctuary and succor with your Temple. Tune in on Shabbat and the holidays. Let your heart stay open, take the leap because there is a community that is surrounding you and loving you. We were always in this together. We’ve always been doing the best we can. And now, more than ever, we need one another!
Previous messages from the Rabbi
In the last five months, I’m sure there’s not one among us who didn’t miss a planned vacation, a visit to family, a graduation, a Bar Mitzvah, or hasn’t had to spend the last 5 months reorganizing family life, work life, and daily routines. For some, the pandemic has been a welcome occasion to reassess … Continue reading Between and You Me August, 2020
Like you, there is nothing I’d rather do than to put this uncomfortable and unfortunate Covid-19 chapter behind us. As challenging as it has been to practice socializing from a distance and translate our Temple’s spiritual life to live streaming and Zoom platforms, it has proven far more daunting to get clarity on the right … Continue reading Between You and Me June/July 2020
During my month of meditation, I was plagued with gut wrenching homesickness. If I had only known how large a dose of home I was going to get a few short weeks later! At the heart of my homesickness was a palpable awareness that all my habitual strategies to self-soothe were not available to me. … Continue reading Between You and Me May, 2020
Dear Congregation, Can you believe we are already 3 weeks into Rabbi’s sabbatical? We have two months to go, and she will be back with us. As she meditates and hikes and studies and engages in serious renewal, we, the Clergy Renewal Team, want to challenge you to consider thinking about renewal for yourself. As … Continue reading Tu B’Shevat (February 10th) and the Importance of Sabbatical
It takes time to integrate the experience of spending five days with 5000 Jews learning from our movement’s thought leaders and encountering our talented artists, collating wisdom from session after session offered by experts in Jewish text and culture, organizational psychology, and education. However, I can already say that this year’s Union for Reform Judaism … Continue reading Between You and Me – January, 2020
Last month, I was one of 30 people Carolina Jews for Justice gathered to make pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama. Among the sites we visited were the Rosa Parks museum, Freedom Riders Museum, Dexter Street Baptist Church and the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, all living testimonials dedicated … Continue reading Between You and Me December, 2019
“It is impossible to do deep Rebbe-work if you have to be the shammes (caretaker) at the same time. If you are expecting deep teaching from someone, you have to give them the time to get there, to connect with the shalshelet, with the chain of their transmission; you have to support them in their … Continue reading Between You and Me- November 2019
You may remember the opening words of the Ne’ila service in the old, red Machzor (High Holy Day prayerbook): “Open the gates. Open them wide…” In the twelve years I was a rabbi BC (Before CBHT), this was the most reviled of all moments in the Days of Awe for me. For the four years … Continue reading Between You and Me- October, 2019
Recently, I was told its name is Joe Pye Weed. But since I’ve been living in Asheville, I know it to be the wildflower that bursts forth each year to tell me I’d better get a move on and write my High Holy Day sermons. I had to laugh when I learned that Joe Pye … Continue reading Between You and Me- Sept 2019
The Talmud tells the story of a man called Honi the Circle-Maker, a Jewish Rip Van Winkle, who went out for a walk, sat down to rest, and fell asleep for 70 years. When he awoke and returned to his village, no one recognized him. Separated from his former companions, he died of loneliness, at … Continue reading Between You and Me – August 2019
“If you stop doing hard things,” she said, “you’ll stop being able to do hard things.” That was what my health instructor said during class a couple of weeks ago. She was lamenting how her mother, who used to be on her feet all the time while she was working, had retired, joined the YMCA … Continue reading Between You and Me