Do not separate yourself from the community.” אַל תִּפְרֹשׁ מִן הַצִּבּוּר - Al tifrosh min ha-tsibur - Pirkey Avot 2:14
This has become my mantra throughout the pandemic. As we separate ourselves physically, it’s more and more important to connect virtually, emotionally and spiritually. Todah rabah (abundant thanks) to the many TBE members and guests who frequent our Zoom services, classes, cultural events and social gatherings. And a heartsiken dank (heartfelt thanks) to everyone who has filled my signups for Zoom visits and lessons. I wasn’t so sure about video meetings at first. I like to limit my own screen time and save my eyesight for taking in the natural world in all its beauty and dazzling complexity. But I’ve seen the digitized light! If you haven’t yet met with me via Zoom, please sign up to do so. You don’t need to have any urgent issues or questions to discuss (though those are welcome), just visiting is lovely.
Though we won’t be dancing and eating latkes together this year, we’ll have the opportunity to gather in community for all eight nights of Chanukah. I’ll lead the first and last nights and our Tefilah Leaders have graciously accepted my invitation to lead the nights in between. Each evening at 5:30 we’ll have a family-friendly candle-lighting, some singing, teaching or stories, followed by discussion of themes on this study sheet from Ritual Well, a lovely on-line resource for evolving Jewish traditions:Eight Nights of Wellness.pdf
Feel free to drop in as your schedule and household activities permit. Remember it’s fine to listen in and keep your video off if you’re in the midst of dinner or you haven’t brushed your hair in a few days! I encourage you to print out this study guide, or put it on your desktop for easy reference. I hope that focusing on various aspects of wellness will help us as we go deeper into this very challenging winter.
So we don’t miss out on seeing one another’s menorahs (chanukiyot) this year, please take a picture of yours, and maybe yourself and family members too, and send it to Blue in the office to include in our Chanukah gallery on the members-only side of the beautiful new website. This will make a nice opportunity for you to learn how to access that feature. And how about sharing favorite Chanukah recipes too? Latkes, sufganyot and burmeloz! I look forward to seeing your faces on Zoom and your photos on the website.
B’shalom (in peace) and Chag Chanukah Sameach (a joyful Chanukah festival),