This Shabbat sees us reading about the death of Rachel, a reminder of the life-threatening risk that child-birth was in centuries gone past, and still is despite all the scientific developments humanity has amassed. The Coronavirus has also reminded us that human beings are not in control of this planet as much as we sometimes arrogantly think.
This evening, we will welcome Green Shabbat with seven other Liberal Jewish communities around the country. Our service will remind us that we humans on planet Earth have been a more damaging virus as far as the natural world and every other species of fauna or flora. Will we learn to live in greater harmony with the planet?
Further, these last few weeks have reminded us in this country and millions elsewhere in the world that another virus – that of racism – continues to cause loss of life and hope for groups of our fellow human beings. Today, we publish a statement by rabbi and council on behalf of this synagogue in which we pledge to do our part to overcome the scourge of racism. You can read it here.
But life is not all doom and despondency – far from it! We have the capacity for tremendous care, support, humour and compassion. We are very proud of our community and the way in which everyone has pulled together in these uniquely challenging times. As the lockdown eases, and more members return to work, we are reviewing the phone tree and support offerings, to see how everyone is doing and what will continue to be valued by you from your fellow-members. Please respond quickly when you are asked.
We hope to see you over Shabbat or very soon at other activities.
Stewart Spivack (Chair) and Rabbi Richard Jacobi