A Message from Our Rabbi
April 2, 2020

A fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out. [Leviticus 6:6]

Over the past two weeks I have, like many of us, received a whole crash course I’d never anticipated in the uses of Zoom as an invaluable tool to allow us to engage and see one another face-to-face, while staying in the safety of our own homes. In this time I’ve used Zoom for Shabbat services, Torah study, a shiva minyan, teaching the Confirmation class, leading family track for our seventh grade, and teaching a highly engaged and interactive class on leading Seder in the age of Coronavirus (which, if you missed, you can find HERE ).

Often these gatherings on Zoom are referred to as ‘virtual,’ but the more I facilitate them the more I see there is nothing virtual about them. While it is certainly true that we convene in a shared internet space rather than a physical space, the opportunities they create for people to connect to one another and to sources of support, comfort, and meaning are very real. The power of the relationships within our M’kor Shalom community isn’t constrained by the lack of physical proximity, and so I find the services and programs serve as authentic opportunities for connection, learning, and prayer - and hope you do as well.

This week’s Torah portion includes God’s commandment that a fire was supposed to be kept burning at all times on the altar in the Temple. The fire was supposed to be a reminder of God’s abiding presence, and is preserved today in the Ner Tamid , the Eternal Light that hangs above the Ark in every synagogue. Even when the Israelites couldn’t see the fire they knew it was burning, because presence is palpable and can be sensed and felt across distance. Even through Zoom, we feel our desires to connect and be present with one another, to lift one another up; there is nothing virtual about our ability to experience community.

With that in mind, please join us on Friday at 10:30 am for ECC Shabbat with our preschool children, whose enthusiasm and joy captures the very heart of what Shabbat is supposed to be about. At 5:30 pm , I will be streaming a short candle lighting and kiddush for our preschool families on Facebook Live , and at 6:30 pm we have our Kabbalat Shabbat service . (Click HERE to join via Zoom; click HERE to view an online copy of our prayerbook.)

Saturday morning , I hope you’ll join me at 10:00 am for Torah study as we continue our exploration of the Book of Leviticus. Then, at 11:15 am , Steve and Stefanie Cohen will lead a Spice Up Your Judaism session on “Connection in the Time of Pandemic: Using Meditation to Connect to Yourself, Your Community and God.”


Rabbi Joshua Waxman