Dear Friends,

Shabbat Shalom! What a difference a week makes. Can we even remember life before all of this meshugas began?   Last year, during our congregational trip to Israel, our guide shared with us the popular Israeli expression, Ze Ma Yesh - which means "It is what it is." To me that means, there are things we can change and there are things we cannot. Our challenge is to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in.

There is so much disturbing news we are being bombarded with so as we enter into Shabbat think of something postive. Consider the story of the two 20 year olds who organized 1,300 volunteers in NY to deliver groceries and medicine to older New Yorkers and other vulnerable people. Or consider our own Morton Fine , who is over a hundered years old still cheering people up in his job in the activities office. 

If you are looking for ways to help consider donating blood at the Red Cross which is experiencing a severe shortage, volunteering at Foodshare ,  donating food to Hands on Hartford , or even Virtual Volunteerin g from your home. 

Tonight, have a Shabbat dinner and light candles if you can. I love Jay Levy's idea inviting you to take a picture of you lighting candles and posting them on social media to connect us and be an uplifting distraction to the news of the week for our community. Use hashtag #LetItGlow - Instagram: congregationbethisraelct & Facebook: congregationbethisrael 

Then join us online for Shabbat Services by watching us stream live from our sanctuary at 7:30pm and tomorrow at 11AM as we celebrate Asher Kaufman's Bar Mitzvah. (Go to ) And check out the multitude of online  offerings including Shabbat INspirit with Craig Taubman and Rabbi David Wolpe Eisner's Kabbalat Shabbat @5:30 on Facebook , Then on Saturday at 11AM join Shira Kline (aka ShirLaLa) and Ellen Allard for song, story for families with young children. And end Shabbat with Eisner for Havdallah at 7pm. Don't forget our own Tot Shabbat today at 10:30 !
So often we judge ourselves and others by what we do. Ironically, in these times we are called to help others by refraining from doing. Gretchen Schmelzer offers a profound insight, " the biggest work you can do is expand your heart and your mind to see yourself and see your family as part of a much bigger community that can have a massive- hugely massive -impact on the lives of other people...You can help by seeing yourself as part of something bigger than yourself."

This Shabbat let us offer a special prayer for our doctors, nurses, emergency workers, newscasters, supermarket employees...all those who are on the front lines - may they be watched over and protected. May our educators quickly learn new ways of teaching, may all those who live now in isolation know that they are not alone, may those who have lost their jobs find ways to pay their expenses, may those who are find healing, those who mourn find comfort, may we all find the strength, energy, and peace to meet each day's challenges. May this day be a Shabbat of peace.
As we complete the book of Exodus this Shabbat, we will add the words:
hazak, chazak, venit-chazeik- Be strong, Be Strong, and Let's Strengthen Each Other .
With peace and blessings,   Rabbi Pincus

What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath-the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down. Continued...
Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death. But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them. Continued...


a progressive, welcoming Reform Jewish community

701 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, Connecticut 06119