A new place, a new time, a new way

We are in a new place… one we have never known. A wave of a threatening virus is sweeping across our globe. Disrupting – lives, economies, livelihoods. Disordering dreamed of moments – academic experiences for all ages from field trips to the zoo to study abroad, vacations, life cycle celebrations. Devastating – a segment of those who fall in its path: the physically vulnerable who might be our neighbors, our friends, our family, perhaps even us.

Look around and appreciate the place where you are… the closer circle of people, the natural world, the basics that sustain you.

Celebrate the caregivers and healers of our community.

We are in a new time… a slower time. Commitment after commitment has fallen off our calendars: meetings, programs, sporting events, concerts, conferences, communal worship, community events.

It is a larger sabbath of sorts to appreciate the sacred of the simple. The here and the now.

Find inspiration in texts… from a thinker of today or of yesterday whose voice is so remarkable that it speaks through the centuries or through the chaos. Find inspiration in people… in the one-on-one conversation with a friend or neighbor. Find the wellspring inside yourself and your soul. Hear your own voice that has become lost in the swift pace of our days.

We are in a new way… we have to contract our social interactions to stop the rapid expansion of the virus so that health can be maintained and medical resources for those infected can keep up with the demand.

We need to expand our generosity of time. If we are healthy and not in a vulnerable population we need to respond to calls from nonprofits who will need extra hands, meals or food to be delivered. We need to expand our generosity of money and resources. We need to ensure hourly wage earners maintain their sustenance and ensure the poor, who will be most harshly impacted, have what they need. We need to expand our generosity of love of our neighbor and the stranger – who especially needs rootedness right now.

We are in a new reality… the most significant revelations happen in the wilderness, in the liminal times and places where the future path is uncertain.

In this new place, in this new time and this new way, let us learn about the universe and/or God. Let us learn about humanity and healing. Let us learn about ourselves. Let us learn about love.

(Day 1 of social distancing. Photo by Yaniv Knobel.)

7 Comments Write a comment


  • Bernie Goldberg March 13, 2020

    Excellent thoughts. Thanks for your words of wisdom

  • Emily Zimmern March 13, 2020

    What beautiful and meaningful words to read at the start of Shabbat! Thank you.

  • Sherri Perper March 14, 2020

    Rabbi Judy as always I found your words to be so inspirational. I so admire you as a person and a woman.

  • Ev Mason March 14, 2020

    This is really beautiful, Judith. Thank you for the reminders.

    • Rabbi Judith Schindler March 18, 2020

      Thanks for touching base!

  • Frances & Ron Liss March 16, 2020

    Thank you , Rabbi Judy! You always make me feel better, even if things have not changed! Please
    stay well, and take care of yourself, Chip, and your boys!

    • Rabbi Judith Schindler March 18, 2020

      The two of you are the kindest and most thoughtful and generous people I know.

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