Rabbi’s May 2020 Column

Shalom Everyone, 

I hope you are all coping as best you can during this unprecedented moment in our lives. It has now been about six weeks since we stopped our normal activities and began isolating and distancing ourselves from one another. Though we know, intellectually, that this is the safest path for the welfare of our world, emotionally, it’s a lot to ask of social creatures that we avoid each other.

This can be even more difficult for us, as Jews, since our religion mandates that the community gather for prayer, holidays, celebrations, mourning. Though one is still obligated to observe Jewish rituals and customs by one’s self, if they live somewhere without other Jews, the ideal is always a minimum of 10 people, a minyan, for any gathering. This, unfortunately, still isn’t possible right now.

I am sure many of you saw that the Governor of Iowa announced an easing of restrictions for some Iowa counties where there are a minimal number of coronavirus infections; Linn county is not one of them. Linn County residents and businesses are supposed to maintain the same rules that have been in place since mid-March, so Temple Judah is going to remain closed for the time being.

Closed, however, does not mean gone. We are here. You can still call the Temple, or Carolyn, or me and we will respond. Also, nearly anything that was already scheduled to happen in the building is now happening online. Services, meetings, Hadassah Book Club, Mid-Week Hebrew are all happening over Zoom. Links for these events are included in the Bulletin and Shaliach, along with instructions for how to join us.  

Most importantly, our Zoom connections are working. They aren’t ideal, but we’ve always had our minyan, and then some, and seeing everyone’s face in their little video window feels like we’re gathered together. There were dozens of us on the screen for the Community Passover seder.  It wasn’t as many as we would have had in the building, but is was still a community seder. 

I would therefore like to encourage you all to join us for a Zoom event. I’ve become much better at using the program, these last few weeks, and I’d be happy to help you with it.

Please everyone, stay safe and healthy.  This too shall pass and we will soon be together again.

Rabbi Todd