Rabbi Johanna Hershenson’s Words of Hope
It seems that this Passover, we are experiencing the chaos and fear of a real plague actually in our midst. What we know is that the COVID-19 coronavirus is a global pandemic. It is here in the United States; it is here in Central Oregon.
Many of us fear for ourselves and/or loved ones who have immune systems compromised by heart conditions, respiratory conditions, cancer treatments, and age. Many of us are trying to figure out how to compensate for ongoing cancellation or postponement of events: proms, graduations, vacations, and visits with friends and family.
At the same time, social media platforms are replete with feel-good stories and videos of Italian and Israeli neighbors singing together from apartment balconies, fiber hobbyists sewing face masks for health care providers, messages reminding us to be patient and ease into the simplicity of staying home and busying ourselves with board games, walks in the forest, and old projects stored away, unfinished.
Temple Beth Tikvah is up and running, though like the rest of the world, differently than we have operated in the past. While I personally miss engaging with you in person, and I know you feel the same, I and our TBT lay leaders are ready to engage virtually and digitally.
Regular gatherings and courses have begun to meet on the digital platform called Zoom. The Union for Reform Judaism has negotiated a discounted license price with Zoom and shared that deal with us. It allows us to invite up to 100 individual devices into a meeting. Lay leaders and teachers in the Central Oregon Jewish Community School can use the platform to continue the year’s program.
In addition to utilizing Zoom, Temple Beth Tikvah is using YouTube and Facebook to upload special video messages for offering comfort and inspiration to members and to create and share special content for upcoming Erev Shabbat, Havdallah, and Passover celebrations.