Keeping Connected with Rabbi Perry
October 2020 Keeping Connected
I would venture to guess that right now, most rabbis are thinking about the wisdom of having Sukkot and Simchat Torah just days after the High Holidays, ESPECIALLY on a year with Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur happening through Zoom or other similar technologies. I mean who would think that is a good idea? If it would be appropriate to use emojis in a newsletter article, which it isn’t, I would have put a big smiling face after that question, to be followed by one of the silly faces that looks like your head is upside-down, one eye is open, the other shut and your tongue is hanging out of your mouth!
I know you are aware that for High Holidays to happen this year, there were many technology mountains to climb and hurdles to jump. Despite the challenges, including my loosing electricity and internet two times, one time in the very middle of the Yom Kippur morning service, I think we can all be blessed that things went as well as they did. I’m not sure if you heard the news, but many, many synagogues that use a software platform called Shul Cloud to power their e-mail data base and website, crashed suddenly on Erev Yom Kippur, leaving many, many congregations and Jewish families without the ability to attend services. When I heard about this yesterday I said a prayer of gratitude, in particular for the amazing dedication, commitment and sacrifices made by our members and staff who helped pilot us through the new arena of on-line services for the many. I am also humbled in knowing that it could have just as easily happened on Zoom. It made all our smaller glitches seem minor in comparison.More
September 2020 Keeping Connected
Many of you know that I am a word geek! I love to think about the origins of a word and on the rare occasions when I think about retirement, I fantasize about how I will get one of those dictionaries that teach about the history of words; finally having an opportunity to feed this esoteric interest. I know you are probably thinking I SHOULD GET A LIFE and fantasize instead about travel, hobbies, sleeping in and all the free time I would have! I assure you that I think about those things as well, BUT, I am interested in the history of words.
With this in mind, I wanted to share that I have been thinking a lot about the word “enfranchisement”. As you have all seen in the press, this past August 18th was the 100th anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. As a woman and as a mother of a daughter, I feel hugely grateful for the pioneers and heroines who fought and marched and lobbied to bring about this change in our Constitution. My grandmother Ada became a naturalized citizen of the USA in 1915 and I was recently thinking about what it must have been like for her NOT to have the right to vote. That thought evoked a lot of intense emotion on my part.More
August 2020 Keeping Connected
At the time of writing this letter we are experiencing a significant heat wave, so it feels odd to know that the Days of Awe are just around the corner. I have begun to listen to the music of that season, so rich with memory and emotion. I have begun to think about the season’s traditions like hearing the shofar, performing tashlich, eating honey and apples, placing stones on the bimah in memory of a loved one. I have begun to reflect on the themes of these holy days and prayers: renewal, return, teshuvah, new beginnings, forgiveness, justice, connection, l’dor v’dor, responsibility, mortality, joy, sorrow and so much more.
In July I invited you to share with me one or two highlights of last year’s holiday season; what was your most significant memory or what stayed with you the longest? I have loved receiving your thoughtful notes and appreciate you trusting me with something so personally meaningful. Please continue to write and share. Your words, insights, stories and experiences inspire me and help me to think about how we can make the New Year season more consequential and impactful on a spiritual and emotional level.More
JUNE 2020 KEEPING CONNECTED
I have this gut feeling that at this time of year I write about the same thing in my newsletter article that I wrote about in years past. Although I am a hard worker, I am a bit too lazy to look up these past articles, however, to know if this is true. Can I chalk this all up to the challenges of memory loss and aging?
My 2020 Keeping Connected
By the time you receive this update, a group of our volunteer members and staff will have begun making “Shalom Cares” calls to the members of our community. I hope you have received such a call or a follow-up e-mail. Because of the inordinate amount of spam calls we receive, I know that many of us are hesitant to answer our phones from people we do not know. Perhaps in this situation you may want to answer and have the personal connection. Either way, through calls or e-mails, we hope these efforts of communication, will elevate your spirits during this difficult time and remind you of our congregation’s deep commitment to building a caring network of support. I am deeply grateful to all the members of this cohort who stepped up to volunteer. All I did was simply ask and 12 people quickly responded with open-hearts and generous spirits. Thank you.More
April 2020 Keeping Connected
These are challenging times for all of us. None of us could have imagined in mid-February that we would so suddenly be plunged into the situation that we are now facing. I know we are concerned about our health and the well-being of loved ones. I know that we are sad about not being able to visit with our family. I know that many of us have suffered losses: missed graduations and proms, abbreviated trips, the inability to go to school or work and so much more. I know that we are feeling uncertain about the economy. We are bound together by the feeling that we are not in control of what is going on.
Clearly we are not the first generation to have faced such challenges, nor are the challenges most of us are facing insurmountable. In some strange way, I personally find it comforting to know this. It gives me a sense of hope that prior generations, who did not have the same scientific knowledge and technology that we have, were able to harness inner-strength, courage and perseverance and not only survive, but oftentimes became stronger. Even more, as a result of the challenges they faced, some people and some societies were able to learn from their experiences and make positive, significant changes for the future. May we be such a generation.More