Change is inevitable in this life. There is practically nothing that we can do as humans to stop it. Sometimes changes are small. From minute to minute there are differences in our cells and bodies. From year to year, we grow, experience new things, and see the world with slightly wiser eyes. Other changes are huge – starting a family, moving to a new place, or graduating from school. Some change we choose, other change is forced upon us.
Last year, we all had to accept changes that were forced upon us. The novel coronavirus upended everything that we normally did. Nothing was the same as we’d done before (except maybe Passover – because for a second time in a row we held our community seder over Zoom). For more than a year, every service, holiday celebration, funeral, and meeting was done over the internet. There just wasn’t a safe way to congregate together. So we did what we had to do to get through a very difficult time.
By the time we’d reached summer, back in June, we were already changing again. Vaccinations had given us hope that we could return to some semblance of normal. Though a different normal. Yes, we were able to congregate together, in small numbers, but we were going to continue to offer a zoom option for nearly everything that happened at Temple. The hybrid model was going to become our new normal going forward.
Now, unfortunately, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to go back to Zoom only for the High Holy Days (though if you want an in-person service, there will be Traditional Services in the lower sanctuary). The fast spreading “delta variant” has once again made it unsafe to congregate indoors in large numbers. So this year will be different. Different than the past hundred years that Temple Judah has existed. Different even than last year, where it was just me and my family, leading services from an empty sanctuary. Thankfully, the choir will be joining me to add some depth and normalcy to our Holy Day service. But I have a feeling the room might still seem pretty empty.
The New Year is nearly upon us. I’m sorry so much is so different, but we must change with the times if we are to survive into the future. We are about to enter the year 5782. May it be a better year than the one before. May it be a year of welcome change that bring us back to one another.
I look forward to seeing all of you soon, whether it’s in-person or virtual.
Shana Tovah u’Metukah.
A Good and Sweet Year to Us All.