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Social Cohesion amid Social Distancing — A Message from the Rabbi
At a time when the community is suffering, no one should say, “I will go home, eat, drink, and be at peace with myself.” – Talmud
Candidly, it’s hard to put words to feelings of the past weeks. Is discombobulated a feeling?! Certainly, we feel overwhelmed by a unfathomable mix of boredom and anxiety, fear and loneliness. Surely, I hope that at the end of this trying time, the cost will not prove too much to bear, and the human toll and social fallout will be as minimal as possible.
Meanwhile, author David Brooks notes that, “Some disasters, like hurricanes and earthquakes, can bring people together, but if history is any judge, pandemics generally drive them apart. These are crises in which social distancing is a virtue… Pandemics hold up a mirror to society and force us to ask basic questions: What is possible imminent death trying to tell us? Where is God in all this? What’s our responsibility to one another?”
Through it all we may learn something about our core values: we might see that life is not a race. Time cannot be spent or saved, only used. And, the best way to use time is with those we love. What truly matters is human connection with family, friends, and congregation. Our phones are only there to help us connect to other people! Life is better spent at home than in the office, with love and conversation, books and silent contemplation, children’s games and long walks. It’s unfortunate that it’s taken the specter of imminent death to make us confront what truly matters.
Furthemore, we commit to connect you with our congregation. We are committed to be there for you, even when not face-to-face. As our sages taught, “Community can not die.” Please let us know how we can address new fears, needs, or distress. May we survive this trial and gain wisdom in the struggle. When this is over, I know we will be proud of the way we got through this – as a community.
With health, safety, and God’s blessings,
Rabbi Alon C Ferency