I am writing this message from my screened deck on a beautiful day enjoying the garden and trees, the birds, the boats on the river and a pleasant breeze. As we begin this most unusual summer and the feelings of unease it brings, I am more grateful than ever for my surroundings, my home, my health and my feeling of overall security. I see many people on Zoom but few in person; who would have thought grocery shopping and going to the Temple to help with Facebook each Friday service would have become highlights of the week. My eyes are exhausted from looking at the screen answering emails and participating in Zoom. My butt is spreading because I sit so much looking at the screen… Some nights, my sleep is restless as I scroll through what I need to do including how we will go forward over the next few months at Temple Shalom.
Let me start by saying I am not doing this alone but alongside a group of fantastic and talented people, the executive, the board (including those who just left and those who just joined), Rabbi Allan, Cantor Len, David Vamos and Janet Goetze, all supported by our staff who keep us informed, keep our building clean, and provide programs for our families and children.
Right now, we are spending a lot of our time planning for the High Holidays. This year will definitely be different, but will be infused with Temple Shalom’s extraordinary music, with familiar and not-so-familiar prayers, with moments of introspection and opportunities to learn and share, and with something special for kids and their families.
We are also ensuring programs continue this summer and looking to the fall. In addition to lay-led services every erev Shabbat, we are introducing weekly Havdalah services, and planning a special outdoor Shabbat morning service. Although coffee with the Rabbi is on holiday for the summer, we hope to keep up our virtual coffee get-togethers. For the fall, we are planning for the new school year, a new program for families with young children and an exciting new b’nai mitzvah program.
To help us plan, we hope to reach out to many of you via Zoom Kitchen Conversations and look forward to finding out what you’ve said in response to the URJ Covid survey (if you have not yet filled it out, please do so; it truly takes less than 5 minutes!).
I opened this message with gratitude and am ending with thanks to the URJ for all their incredible support, and to all of you for your continued participation and commitment.
In these strange times I leave you with the words sung by Shira at last week’s URJ Shabbat ShaMorning (a delightful service for families and young kids):
Peace Like a River
Strength Like a Mountain
Love like a Rainbow