Dear Friends,

At CBI we almost always begins our services with singing from Psalm 133 Hinei mah tov u'ma na-im... "How good it is for brothers to sit together".  I have to admit that I have never appreciated that line as much as I do now as restrictions are placed on our ability to gather together in person. Thankfully, at least there are modern tools that can help. 

In some way it seems that everyone in our world is being effected by this worldwide pandemic. Our prayers continue to be directed to those around the world who are experiencing illness, as well as those who are caring for them. We hold those who are anxious in our hearts, We think about the millions worldwide who are isolated from others in quarantine. And we pray for peace and comfort for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones.

Please know that we are here for you at CBI. If you need someone to bring you a meal or food, have someone to talk to, or are under financial duress - please let us know how we can help!  
In this week's double Torah portion, Vayakheil-Pekudi we are reminded about the importance of gathering together as a community (VaYakheil is Hebrew for "gather together as a community -the noun Kehillah - community is tucked into this verb) and holding each other accountable (Pekudei focuses on the accounting that was done of the materials used to build the Mishkan- the portable sanctuary). So let us strengthen our community and check on each other!
We don't know when this is going to end but in the meantime I think the following suggestions by offers some good practical advice:

1. Find a Routine - Every night at about midnight, we learn that King David woke up to study. For some it might be waking up each morning and making coffee - exercising - Keep that up, even if everything else feels off. Good times and bad, some things should stay the same.

2. (Re)connect - Call old friends, check in on acquaintances, maybe check in on your college roommate?

3. Go for a walk if you can - look out the window - Springtime is starting - really notice it this year.

4. Breathe -  Really. Rabbi Emily Cohen suggests "Stop reading this  for 10 seconds. Shut your eyes. Notice where your feet are. Plant them. Place your hands apart from each other so you stop picking at your cuticles. Take a breath. Slow. Slower. Take another. Roll your shoulders a little and loosen your neck. Did you yawn? Good. It's working. Do this every hour. Set a reminder on your phone. Really. Remember: We're all figuring this out as we go. So be patient, with yourself and with your communities and - please - with your clergy. This is new. This is not easy. But I am not alone, and neither are you. Want to talk? My inbox is open. Now go wash your hands. Don't touch your face. Breathe. You got this."

5. Find a way to help someone. Check in on someone regularly and reduce the isolation. If you are able let us know and our caring committee can give you a few people you can call.

6. Join us live for Shabbat Services- this Friday at 7:30pm  with a link to an online version of our prayer book! 

Or check out these resources for online learning: 
Yiddish Theater?  Reform Judaism : Articles and podcasts on the weekly Torah portion, Jewish holidays, as well as podcasts on the weekly Torah portion, beloved Jewish stories, Jewish culture and Israel.  Watch a Jewish related movie on Netflix  or a video on  Bimbam : Listen to Podcasts on Jewish history, culture and text as well as Take One, a podcast the daily Talmud page with journalist Liel Liebowitz. Or experience  Reconstructing Judaism: A "Virtual Shabbat Box" including meditations for the five senses. Or checkout -  Harmony In Unison: A Facebook group devoted to showcasing Jewish musicians. And  Hadar Institute: Offers webinars and articles on Bible and Talmud, podcasts on the weekly Torah portion and recordings of lectures at the Hadar Institute (Intermediate/Advanced).

And for kids check out  Jewish Learning Venture is hosting a daily storytime, crafts and projects weekdays at 10 a.m. on Facebook PJ Library has put together an online resource for families, including suggestions for crafts, games, learning activities, and recipes; podcasts, videos, and guidelines for how to talk to your children about scary situations.  Shaboom!  Videos for children and parents on Jewish values and  Stories We Tell  A weekly Jewish storytelling podcast from Reform Judaism.

M ay our world be blessed with healing - with  refu'ah shleimah  - at this time, and always!

With peace and blessings, Rabbi Pincus


a progressive, welcoming Reform Jewish community

701 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, Connecticut 06119