An important message from
the Rabbi and Co-Presidents
of Beit Chaverim
 וְכָל הַמְקַיֵּם נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, מַעֲלֶה עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב כְּאִלּוּ קִיֵּם עוֹלָם מָלֵא.
...Anyone who saves a single soul from Israel is deemed by Scripture as if they had saved a whole world.
Talmud-Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5
Shalom Chaverim,
As you know, the current challenges of the corona virus and COVID-19 have emerged here in Westport. The local government, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, has decided to close schools and many non-essential buildings. Other shuls and houses of worship have followed.

Although no one in our congregation has been diagnosed, or, so far as we are aware, has any symptoms of COVID-19, we have decided to close our building for a few days until we can assess the impact in our community. If we can prevent one person from becoming seriously ill, we will have the satisfaction of doing the right thing at the right time.

We have several members who fit the profile of being at risk, due to age, or ongoing medical issues, and by taking Beit Chaverim out of the equation for the time being, we can do our part to limit the transmission of the virus to anyone who could potentially get sick.

We make this decision not out of fear, but out of concern for those in our lives who are most vulnerable. Is it a coincidence that our community must face this situation immediately after Purim, where we see the effects of Amalek (Haman was an Amalekite), the perpetual opposing force that preys on the weak, infirm, and the most vulnerable?

Is it a coincidence that this week's parasha, Ki Tisa, describes a divinely sent consequence to the national loss of faith that resulted in the Golden Calf? " God then struck the people with a plague because of the (golden) calf that Aaron had made." Ex. 32:35

Our tradition teaches us that every challenge we face is an opportunity for introspection, growth, and renewed commitment to our Jewish values, our way of life, and our relationship with God. We urge you to help our shul restore a spiritual balance in our community by taking time each day for prayer and introspection.

The rabbi will continue offering his regular classes online and on the phone, and will use this opportunity to start some new online offerings as well, especially for anyone who has never participated in Jewish learning at Beit Chaverim. Please feel to reach out to the Rabbi at any time to discuss any concerns or for a little chizuk- some spiritual strengthening.

We have faced far more threatening challenges in the past, and we have always emerged with our heads held high, and we will weather this storm as well, together.

Stay safe, and please let us know if you or anyone else needs help.

May we share only in b'sorot tovot, in good news,

Bonnie Marcus

Brett Cohen

Rabbi Greg Wall

Here is a special Psalm for a challenging time:
תהילים קכ״א

שִׁיר לַמַּעֲלוֹת אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי אֶל־הֶהָרִים מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי׃

עֶזְרִי מֵעִם יְהוָה עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ׃

אַל־יִתֵּן לַמּוֹט רַגְלֶךָ אַל־יָנוּם שֹׁמְרֶךָ׃

הִנֵּה לֹא־יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

יְהוָה שֹׁמְרֶךָ יְהוָה צִלְּךָ עַל־יַד יְמִינֶךָ׃

יוֹמָם הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לֹא־יַכֶּכָּה וְיָרֵחַ בַּלָּיְלָה׃

יְהוָה יִשְׁמָרְךָ מִכָּל־רָע יִשְׁמֹר אֶת־נַפְשֶׁךָ׃

יְהוָה יִשְׁמָר־צֵאתְךָ וּבוֹאֶךָ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד־עוֹלָם׃

P salm 121
A song for ascents. I shall raise my eyes to the mountains, from where will my help come?
My help is from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to falter; Your Guardian will not slumber.
Behold the Guardian of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your Guardian; the Lord is your shadow; [He is] by your right hand.
By day, the sun will not smite you, nor will the moon at night.
The Lord will guard you from all evil; He will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from now and to eternity.