The lilacs are blossoming, the trees have unfurled their emerald leaves, the warm April sun beckons. Yet lock-down continues. Some are lucky enough to have a garden to sit out in and enjoy the Spring weather, others eagerly anticipate our daily exercise excursion to the local park or green space, still others remain shielding indoors.

In the coming days and weeks, the government will be preparing for how to carry out a staged easing of restrictions, planning for the ‘new normal’. For us too, as individuals and as a community, it is time to create a vision of what life living with Coronavirus might look like in the medium- and long-term. What surprising and unexpected benefits of lock- down would we like to integrate into the new way of living that we build on the other side?

A SWESRS vision for our ‘new normal’ is already taking shape. Incorporating Zoom into services, levoyahs, shivas, learning and meetings going forward is a definite. Building an online community is proving surprisingly uplifting and strengthening, providing opportunities for supporting each other in celebration and sorrow.

Maintaining and expanding the significant team of volunteers who have stepped up to make phone calls and deliver groceries and prescriptions is another definite.

And some good news. I am delighted to welcome Claire Lerner to the professional team at SWESRS, taking up her position as part-time Care Coordinator for our community. Supporting our 100+ volunteer team will be one of her first tasks, alongside getting to know those members most in need of support. I am also delighted to let you know that our Student Rabbi Tali Artman will be staying on for a second year, building on the tremendous work she has been doing with us since last September.

Wishing you strength in these difficult times. Stay safe and well, and hoping to see you online soon while the lock-down lasts,

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Lisa