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7 Nisan 5780/ April 1, 2020

04/01/2020 10:04:24 AM

Apr1

Rabbi Julie Kozlow

                        

Dear Friends,

I have heard every day, some religious leader who spoke of this Virus as a punishment from God. As a spiritual leader myself, I am terribly ashamed by these kinds of unenlightened and cruel depictions of God. It certainly isn’t what inspired me to the rabbinate, it certainly isn’t what inspired me to serve God with my life’s energy and the full force of my soul. No, that’s not a God for me. 

This beautiful quote is from the Psalms which are a collection of 150 songs/prayers that are packed with the intensity of every human emotion. They are central to Jewish faith and they are the most emotionally inspired literature known to humankind. They are a massive outpouring of love and fear, dreams and disappointments, hope and dread, loss and gain. It is the human cry to God, this invisible entity that holds the mystery of our lives in precious secret.

Perhaps this quote is meaningful for us today because its focus is on, quieting oneself and learning how to hear the true rhythm of existence, the clear melody of breath and the powerful navigation of the heart. Our lives are quieter these days. We see fewer people, we have no crowds to get lost in and the noise of human folly is stifled. Here in this sacred space we can begin to feel the authentic call of life. No distractions, no games, no masks. And here in this quiet, you can know God. The true God, a loving, gentle and compassionate God.

Now that’s a beautiful thing!

                                                                                                                        

I have such exciting news to share with you. As your rabbi I have been so worried about everyone’s Seder. Every year, I have run a community Seder of over 100 people and that is truly, one of the great highlights of the year for me. I feel so strongly about giving my congregants a powerfully meaningful Passover as it is so primal to our identities as Jews. So this year feels awkward and unseeing. How are we going to share a closeness when social distancing is mandated? And then the idea came to me.

We can connect to each other by two wonderful ways, one is by everyone watching Rabbi Julie’s PASSOVER IN A PANDEMIC, YouTube video. It will be posted next Wednesday morning. This will be my teaching and my blessing for you as you enter your private Seders.

The second way will be for us all to be sharing the same food, the same tastes, the same aromas, the same meal and that took coordinating with the wonderful Porters. I have asked James and Wendy if they would cater, for all of our interested congregational families, a Seder meal including all of the Seder plate necessities. Wine will be available for an extra charge and all who reserve their meals will pick them up at the Temple on Wednesday the 8th. For those unable to pick them up, we will deliver. You can order for one or two Seders. The cost will be per person but it is preferred that orders are no less than for two people. This wonderful opportunity will ensure that all be all of us will be sharing the same meal even if we are not sitting next to each other.
How beautiful is that?
All of the details are being figured out at this moment and will be finalized by this evening. You can expect to find the menu being sent out tomorrow morning. We will want all meals reserved by the end of the day on Monday the 6th.
The only thing we know that we cannot find right now is matzah and so I am asking for your help. If anyone finds matzah anywhere, please call me, Rabbi Julie, immediately, 928-220-5020 and I will arrange for someone to come and get as much as possible. I do need your help on this for if we can’t find the matzah for you then you will be on your own. James has tried to get Matzah in bulk and was unsuccessful.
Food and taste are so essential to our memory making. And at Passover we eat our ethics and craft our moral fortitude by drinking to hope. How special during this Pandemic Passover to share food together even if we are apart.
How blessed are we to have the Porters among us? They didn’t hesitate once I asked. They are so generous. So due to them, we can all share a beautiful Seder, all you need is a Seder plate. Please keep an eye out for tomorrows email to arrive with all of the necessary details. This will be forever known as the year the Porters saved Passover!!!!

                                                                                                                                                              

My Heart this week is entrenched with those among us who are facing frightening health issues that were here long before the Pandemic hit. And though everyone now is afraid and wondering where normal life has disappeared to, these brave souls have been in that worried space for a long time already. They are now being hit by a double whammy.  Imagine if your life felt like this all the time, Pandemic or not! That’s what it’s like to be ill with a traumatic diagnosis and so many people among us, live in that fearful space all alone. They don’t speak up because normally, healthy people don’t understand. Well all excuses are off the table now. We have all been brought to that same wall, the one where you can’t see what’s on the other side.
 
This fear we all share now for ourselves, our children, our friends, is the beginning of true compassion. Here empathy can grow. When we look into this mirror of uncertainty, we see ourselves. And that my friends, will make this old world a much kinder and more loving place.
 
Life can change on a dime and now we all know that. What do you do with life once you get that? Well that is a choice facing each of us that waits expectantly for the right response.
 
My privilege as a Rabbi is that I know many of those who are silently suffering.

Here is my poem for them. 

The Tsunami hit your world a long time ago
But no one else saw the walls of water knock you to the floor
 
It’s like your screams for help could not be heard
Everyone’s life rolled on undisturbed
 
But your body suffered a fall and everything changed
You tried to speak but nothing seemed the same
 
And then this virus, this terrifying plague,
 hit the world and how life has changed
with not a single human soul promised to be saved
were all in it together riding the crest of this wave
 
The tsunami of uncertainty is now engraved on our lives
No money or status can insure anyone survives
 
The playing field has been leveled and now we know
We are all one family with only one road home
 
So my friends who carry this burden of unimaginable weight
The rest will up, it is not too late
 
One family, one human race
One path of loving kindness holding its place
 
We see you now
We hear your tears
Compassion has been born out of all of our shared fears.
 
May God’s glory guide the path
May Covid’s fury loose its wrath
 
One family at heart
Together or apart
 
Hear each other my friends,
This is where it all starts.

 

 

My blessings reach out to all of you. Please stay safe, minimize going out. Don’t take unnecessary chances. After the Seder I will be planning on a few Zoom classes and I will also be offering private study. I’ve got a hundred ideas running around my head. So lets enter Passover with dignity even in this strange isolation. We will be together!

Yours,

Rabbi Julie

 

Wed, 27 May 2020 4 Sivan 5780