Rabbi Randy Sheinberg
THANK GOODNESS IT IS SPRING!
- The past couple of weeks…during this time of sheltering in place, I have taken a long walk every day. Each day, no matter what else is happening, no matter my anxiety, I have reminded myself to walk, breathe and actually look at what surrounds me. Blossoms galore - bright yellow forsythia, gentle pink showers of cherry blossoms, crocuses, daffodils, violets. And the sound of the birds, so many different calls, each distinct and full-throated, ushering in this new season, singing psalms of celebration to the universe. And the trees, bravely pushing out new buds, unfurling new leaves, each an emblem of hope.
- Truth be told, nature was my first religion. Long before I started regularly attending Shabbat Services or participating in Jewish Communal Life, I was communing with God at the beach, on a hike or in my backyard. Nature has often been my place of refuge, my place to hear the voice of holiness, and to feel connected to something greater than myself.
- Love of nature is actually a very Jewish concept. Our tradition teaches that we can find God in all of creation. Indeed, the Kabbalists maintain that just as each individual is made in God’s image, a small spark of divine energy, so creation as a whole gives us the bigger image, the total picture of God.
- If this is true, then caring for the earth is a sacred task, and destroying this fragile ecosystem is chilul HaShem, a desecration of God’s very name.
- This April we mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. For the past half century, we humans have dedicated one day per year to think about our connection to the earth and our responsibility to care for it. However, one day per year is not enough.
- Of course, this Earth Day will be very different from that of years past. This year, because of the COVID 19 Outbreak, we will not gather in groups to celebrate our planet or protest those who refuse to take responsibility to preserve it. This year we will be home, our voices muted, our power to make change seemingly diminished.
- I recently heard Rabbi Rick Jacobs describe his having traveled with Ruth Messinger, then Executive Director of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), to places that had witnessed devastation; war-torn Sudan, hurricane-torn Haiti, and others. Each time Ruth would see massive destruction, she would say, “We must build back better.”
- God willing, the ordeal that is the Corona Virus Pandemic will cease sometime, and we will have the chance to return to our normal lives. Ruth Messinger’s charge and implicit challenge rings out - will we just build back? Or will we build back better?
- For as grueling and painful as this period is, I think we may be learning something from this period of isolation. We are learning that we need less than we think - we do not have to go out all the time. We do not need to consume quite so much. We can make do, quite fine actually, with less.
- We are learning that we need one another. And that we are all connected, that what happens in one corner of the planet sooner or later affects us all.
- And most importantly, we are learning that through our actions we can protect the vulnerable. If we can take care of the elderly and those most susceptible to disease by making sacrifices and sheltering in place, then perhaps we can also take care of others who are vulnerable - the creatures who surround us, the generations that will follow us in the future. If we learn these lessons, then we will have built back better, and this Earth Day will be the most important one yet.
KEN YEHI RAZON….MAY IT BE SO!
a lying' king purim spiel
Education Director - Sharon Fricano
LET'S NOT FORGET TO STAY AWARE AND CONSCIOUS
- We celebrated Purim in March with our Family Program and Purim Carnival. Our students were also busy packaging “Blessing Bags” for the needy which will be donated to the HUC Soup Kitchen in Manhattan and to the “Inn.” We made masks and groggers, and prepared hamentashen to bake at home. The students were then treated to a wonderful Carnival! A big thank you to Cheryl, the madrichim, and the parents that helped set-up the Carnival. And last, but not least…what a great job all the students did that participated in our “Lying' King” Purim Sphiel at Temple Judea!
- None of us realized that Purim was the last time we would gather as a group for a while. And, while it is my sincere wish that we will soon be able to resume our normal activities, we are planning for remote learning for the foreseeable future: • Our teachers are providing lessons and updates to their classes and are using Zoom or Facetime to stay connected. • Tuesday Hebrew Tutoring and B’nai Mitzvah Lessons are continuing via Facetime or by phone. The classroom teachers are providing Hebrew Lessons to students not scheduled for individual tutoring. We also highly encourage all student to leverage Shalom Learning to keep up with their Hebrew. • Our model seder will take place via Zoom as scheduled on April 5th. Students have been given parts and the teachers are working with them on the Four Questions. We will email Haggadahs to all families. • Please see Cheryl’s article for other scheduled virtual activities.
PLEASE PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING TO STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY AND KNOW THAT YOUR TEMPLE TIKVAH FAMILY IS HERE TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT RELIGIOUS SCHOOL FAMILIES. AS ALWAYS, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org WITH YOUR QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS.
our annual purim carnival!
Director of Youth & Family Engagement - Cheryl Stern
LET'S NURTURE HOPE AND KEEP OUR MINDS OPEN
Youth and Family Plans: Tuesday, March 31st at 4:00pm - Create your own Seder Plate - Everyone is invited to participate. All you will need is a printer, glue stick, and a large paper plate. • Saturday, April 18th at 9:30am - Virtual Junior Congregation: A LINK will be sent to a Prayer Book for the children to follow along. • Pictures for Our Community - Different pictures to color in will be sent to our youth. Once they are colored-in, please take a picture of your child’s picture and email it to me at email@example.com. I will be making a collage for our Homebound Congregants. It would then be nice to put your pictures up on your windows, so people can hunt for them. • Pen Pal Via Email - If you would like to start a Pen Pal Relationship with another Community Member whom you do not know, we will gladly arrange it between our youth group children and our mature members.
WE MAY BE SOCIALLY DISTANCED, YET WE ARE SPIRITUALLY CONNECTED
a good time was had by all!
Created with images by Happy Films - "untitled image" • FotoRieth - "challah shabbat challah board" • Austris Augusts - "untitled image" • Andrew Neel - "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. — Mark Twain" • Aaron Burden - "Dandelion in the grass" • Sandrachile . - "Just a floral bouquet in front of a white wall." • Nikola Jovanovic - "untitled image" • exoteric - "sundial clock old"