Shabbat Shalom! I hope you and your families are well and safe.
For some, this is a time of fear, anxiety and loneliness as we deal with the physical isolation thrust upon us by Coronavirus, as we worry for the safety of our loved ones, and as we deal with the financial impact of the current crisis. For others, surprising opportunities have opened up – a pause from busy schedules; greater leisure time; the chance to get in touch with friends and family we care about but often don’t have time to contact. For many, it’s a combination of both. For all of us, this is a time of uncertainty – something we human beings find difficult. So I wish us all the strength, courage and resilience to stay calm and adapt to a new and different way of living for the unseeable future that lies ahead.
Whilst it seems that everything in our world has changed at breath-taking speed – some things remain the same.
Our community continues to care. A phone tree to ensure we stay in touch with every member is close to completion. Assigning volunteers to make food and prescription deliveries to members in self-isolation who have no family or neighbours to help is already underway. The response to our appeal for volunteers has been overwhelming. (If you can help and haven’t yet been in touch, please do contact the office.)
Our community continues to keep us connected. This Shabbat our services go on-line. You can join me for candle-lighting and Kabbalat Shabbat at 6pm on Friday afternoon, for a Shabbat morning service at 10 30am, and for Havdalah at 7pm on Saturday evening. All you need to do is to click on the words in bold to join the online services by Zoom. May our spirits be lifted, and may we enjoy the support that comes from gathering together in prayer!
Our community continues to learn. Student Rabbi Dr Tali Artman is launching a new online course, ‘Did the Rabbis Really Say That?’ starting this Sunday afternoon.
Looking ahead, our Second Night Pesach Communal Seder is now going online, as well as a just-scheduled Family Friendly First night Seder. Check the SWESRS website in the coming days for details of new activities as we move online.
My heartfelt thanks go to our hard-working and efficient Council, to our teams of volunteers, and to Deborah and Janine in the office who have all stepped up, under incredible pressure, to bring our community through the many challenges that face us.
Finally, as we head towards Shabbat, spare a thought for some of those most hard hit by Coronavirus – the Homeless. Living on the streets makes people especially vulnerable. Vendors of the Big Issue need support more than ever; charities such as Crisis are doing everything they can to provide accommodation for the thousands without a home. Traditionally, just before Shabbat is good time to give Tzedakah. You can donate online at https://www.bigissue.com/ or https://www.crisis.org.uk/
You can reach me any time on my mobile phone on 07939 369085. I am always here if you need me.
Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Lisa