WE’RE ALL CONNECTED – B’NAI SHALOM, KALISPELL
I am not a scientist, I am a rabbi. I am not a doctor, I’m a mom and a Crohn’s patient. I am not a miracle-worker, but I know my actions have power and consequences.
If there was ever a time when we each have to take stock of how we are living our lives and how our actions could impact each other, now is the time. Consider this time in our lives like the preparation period for Yom Kippur, called “cheshbon ha-nefesh” or “accounting of our souls.”
In this moment, let us take an accounting of our actions/ma’asim so that we can then take an accounting of our souls. Ask yourselves: what am I doing that is helping to heal the world? What am I doing that is hurting the world? What can I do to preserve life?
Right now, the answer is clear. Stay home and stay safe.
While there is so much that is unknown about the COVID19 virus, there is one thing that is clear. It is spreading across the world, across the United States and across Montana. There is no place that will be untouched by the virus. The challenge is slowing down its spread so that our healthcare systems are not overwhelmed and people at risk are not able to be helped. The challenge is doing all that we can so that the fewest number of people die from this virus.
We are all responsible for doing what we can to keep ourselves safe, our loved ones and our communities safe, our state and our country protected.
So, please, if you can work from home, stay home. If you do not work regularly, stay at home. If you feel just fine, stay at home. If you are not feeling well, stay home and call your doctor.
Once we are taking care of our physical needs, we need to remember our emotional and spiritual needs. The level of anxiety is frequently high for many of us. The more we read or hear about the disease, the scarier things seem. As word arrives that people you know and care about are affected by the disease, it can be even scarier. Please take care to limit your time reading and listening about the virus and balance your day with refreshing actions like listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or doing an art project!
What I can offer to you is a listening ear, relatively quick text responses, and presence by virtual meetings. In the next couple days I will be sending out word about how we can connect virtually so that we are staying safe, socially distant, yet also virtually connected.
What to do while you are staying at home and isolating? I highly recommend that you schedule a regular time to sit in prayer or meditation to help ground your spirit and reset your nervous system. There are various apps that will offer you timers for meditative sitting or guided meditations of various themes and lengths of time. Below is website information for the Institute of Jewish Spirituality that is holding a daily sit and offering resources for spiritual comfort in troubling times.
Soon, I will be offering learning sessions on skills to manage anxiety and regulate our nervous systems as well as lessons from Jewish tradition about life, Torah, resiliency and the power of the human spirit. I am also happy to start up a study group on the basics of Jewish life, in preparation for our Adult B’nai Mitzvah celebration July 25th–virus-willing. If you want to learn about Torah, prayer, Shabbat and Jewish holidays, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if you have had a bar/bat mitzvah in the past, I am creating a service to share each other’s learning and spiritual journeys!
There are many people in our community who have wisdom and experience to share and I would love to create a way for us all to share with each other. I will be in touch about ways we can share experiences, learn together and laugh together. We can’t hug each other but we can smile and share and support each other.
We are all in this together. If you know of someone who is ill and needs support, please reach out to them. If you know of someone who is elderly, please reach out to them. If you need something and think I might be able to help, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. You can email, text or call me at email@example.com or 973-787-7846.
In closing, there are traditional prayers for waking up in the morning that help us express gratitude and remember the gift of life, health and spirit. They are below and click here for a PDF if you would like to print them out for your bedside table or morning coffee spot. I invite you to take a moment when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night, to recount your blessings and focus on the many resources we can all access, at any time, from any place.
Please stay tuned for more resources from me and Glacier Jewish Community and please stay in touch and stay safe!
With love and blessings,
Rabbi Francine Roston
Now’s the time to explore Meditation!
If you always wanted to explore meditation, now might be the time!
If you are finding yourself struggling with uncertainly and anxiety, I encourage you to consider growing or expanding your meditation practice. Daily meditation can be a way to anchor your day and help give you a sense of calm and stability in these uncertain times.
The Institute for Jewish Spirituality offers many different courses and options for study and meditation integrating Jewish tradition. I encourage you to browse around their website http://www.jewishspirituality.org One of their offerings is a “Meditation Starter Kit” which includes all the tools and resources you’ll need to feel confident, prepared and inspired as you begin your Jewish meditation practice, including:
• A sample text teaching – connecting the wisdom and inspiration of scripture to everyday life
• A guided meditation practice connected to the text – that you can use again and again
• Simple tips for how to begin meditating – and how to integrate Jewish mindfulness meditation into your life
Click here for more information on the meditation guidance offered by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.
A Poem & A Prayer for You
by Lynn Ungar
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
A Prayer of Hope During this Pandemic
by Rabbi Naomi Levy
We are frightened, God,
Worried for our loved ones,
Worried for our world.
Helpless and confused,
We turn to You
Seeking comfort, faith and hope.
Teach us God, to turn our panic into patience,
And our fear into acts of kindness and support.
Our strong must watch out for our weak,
Our young must take care of our old.
Help each one of us to do our part to halt the spread of this virus
Send strength and courage to the doctors and nurses
In the front-lines of this battle,
Fortify them with the full force of their healing powers.
Send wisdom and insight to the scientists
Working day and night across the world to discover healing treatments.
Bless their efforts, God.
Fill our leaders with the wisdom and the courage
To choose wisely and act quickly.
Help us, God, to see that we are one world,
Who will rise above this pandemic together.
Send us health God,
Watch over us,
Grace us with Your love,
Bless us with Your healing light.
Hear us God,
Heal us God,
Glacier Jewish Community/
Bnai Shalom |
PO Box 615, Kalispell, MT 59903