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It’s Purim!

Chag Sameach! It’s Purim, and tonight, tomorrow and on Saturday night we will celebrate the topsy turvy world of villains and Queens, of gallows and beauty contests, of crazy plot twists, of near-destruction and salvation at the 11th hour. This week we heard announcements of the staged easing of restrictions in response to falling infection rates and the success in the roll-out of the vaccination programme. Our own salvation is in sight!

I was lucky enough to get a first jab of the Pfizer vaccine 3 weeks ago, thanks to Redbridge’s Faith-Leaders vaccination programme – a step to support Faith Leaders in encouraging their congregants to take up the vaccine. I do hope and pray that all of you who have been offered the jab have taken up the opportunity – so you can be protected from corona virus and reduce transmission, doing everything to ensure that this lock-down is the very last lock-down we have to endure. It will take years for a full reckoning of the true price of the past year to be known – the excess death toll, the cost to our mental health and well-being, the impact on the futures of our children and young people, the cost to the economy.

I must confess that, although I can’t wait to get back to something approaching a new ‘normal’ – to seeing my family and friends, to being back in the shul building again – part of me feels quite anxious. I have grown accustomed to working from home, to living in my jogging bottoms, to meeting on zoom, to staying in touch on the phone. I am relieved that the restrictions will be lifted slowly, in stages, with careful analysis of the data after each new easing. This will give me time, too, to readjust and to regain my confidence for living in the physical world once again.

One of the 4 mitzvot of Purim is Matanot le’Evyonim, gifts to those in need. As we celebrate Purim this year, I want us to remember those less fortunate by supporting JCORE’s Pants for Purim Appeal to help buy packs of new underwear for destitute asylum seekers and refugees in the UK and Northern France. However hard the pandemic has been for us, for those fleeing war and persecution, being homeless through the pandemic has been an experience of extreme hardship. You can find the details and the link to donate further down in the Weekly email. Please give generously.

Having endured collective trauma as a community and as a nation over the past year, what we need now is a collective healing. With salvation in sight, and hope on the horizon, let’s begin that healing by embracing the crazy ‘gallows humour’ of Purim with a laugh and a smile.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!

Stay Safe, Be Well and Wishing you All a Happy Purim!

Rabbi Lisa