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Never Waste a “Good Crisis”

Jewish texts – from the Bible to post-Holocaust theology – have a lot to say about how to respond to crisis.  Whether in the midst of a personal challenge, a communal struggle or a global pandemic, we are particularly attuned to matters of the spirit when crises strike.

How have we grown since Corona struck?  How have we changed – as individuals, as a society?  What have we learned?  What MUST we learn?  These are the questions we ought to be contemplating now through study and prayer.  Part of our mission as a sacred congregation is to create the settings for personal meditation, for the meaningful exchange of ideas, and for thought-leaders to guide reflective conversations among us.  Our summer calendar is filled with daily offerings to stimulate your own insights.

In addition to our own in-house Holy Blossom talent, we have cultivated many good external partners over the years.  This summer they are generously inviting us to join them in gleaning greater understanding from these unusual and trying times.  The Hartman Institute offers a most impressive range of classes – available in real-time or host a watch party for the recordings and discussion among your own study-group.  The Institute for Jewish Spirituality offers short and long Mindful Meditation Practices as well as Embodied Jewish Yoga sessions.  The Hebrew University offers us thematic minicourses through the Florence Melton School — from climate change to gender fluidity to annexation to artificial intelligence and the future of Jewish denominations, to name a few.  Hillel International and the Union for Reform Judaism have paired up to Ask Big Questions.  Tomorrow morning begins this series which will be team-taught by our Holy Blossom Rabbis and Cantors.

When a rainy day comes or when you take a break from Netflix, indulge yourself in these rich and varied offerings.

Growing up outside of Boston, I was exposed to the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. One line of poetry that sticks with me from my teenaged years is: “In each pause we hear the call.”  How might we leverage this Corona crisis for the good?  How might we elevate our intellectual and spiritual aspirations?  How might we make societies more just, more healthy?  Let’s not waste a “good crisis.”  Jewish history teaches us that every crisis – and there have been many – is a call that demands a pause, so that we might do more than simply survive it.

As the weekly pause of Shabbat enters, what do we hear?  How might we join with one another, with fellow congregants and fellow Jews in listening for the call and discovering moral clarity in our responses?

Shabbat Shalom.

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