A Shabbat Toward Redemption

Dear Friends,
This week, Jews throughout the world start the Book of Exodus, returning to the beginning of our people’s story of oppression and slavery. So, too, may it feel like we are returning to the beginning of a tale of sorrow – one kindled through the resurgence of a pandemic. Like our ancestors, we may find ourselves in search of sources of strength and resilience as we survey the wilderness of suffering and trauma that lay behind us and before us.
Our ancestors drew inspiration from the stories of those who carried the Israelites to their deliverance. From the midwives, Shifra and Puah, who plot a radical act of resistance to save the Israelite baby boys… to Pharoah’s daughter, Batyah, who defies her father’s decree to welcome a Hebrew baby into their household… to Moses’ mother and sister, Yocheved and Miriam, who courageously devise a plan to save their new baby – the tale of the Exodus is replete with heroes who make redemption possible.
And, despite the opportunistic voices of chaos and hate that plague our nation, we, too, may find acts of selflessness and courage to inspire us toward redemption. From the first responders and health care workers who once again put their lives at risk, stretching past their profound exhaustion to care for those in need... to the teachers, the farmers, the grocers, and everyone else who puts their safety aside to feed their families and to provide essential services to their fellow Americans… to the scientists, researchers, pharmacists, and physicians working around the clock to combat each new permutation of the coronavirus as quickly as possible… to the members of our own community who think outside themselves and reach out to others in need with a call, a visit, or a meal – our story is filled with examples of heroism that will make our redemption possible.
Yes, we live in strange and uncertain times, but we draw hope from the realization that human kindness is still alive and well and that acts of lovingkindness, no matter how small, still matter. Though they cannot deliver us from COVID-19, they will inspire us and sustain us, until, together, we find deliverance from Mitzrayim – the narrow confines that plague us.
We hope you will join us tonight for Shabbat table blessings at 6:00 pm so that we can greet one another face to face via zoom and then enjoy the respite and healing power of Shabbat together with our virtual Kabbalat Shabbat evening service.
We look forward to sharing Shabbat with you,

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