From the Rabbi's Study
With roughly 4 weeks until the High Holidays, every pulpit rabbi on the globe is deep in work to craft the informative sermons our congregations have come to expect on these important religious holidays. Over the years I have tried to avoid becoming deeply philosophical or to delve too deeply into Jewish Law. I’ve learned that most congregants know the religious importance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. When writing these sermons, I tend more toward trying to understand current events both in the U.S. and in Israel and their impact upon our religious understanding. Local conditions and our Temple’s place in the larger S.W. Chicago community are also subjects that I examine for possible inclusion in my holiday remarks.
While I will not remark about the Presidential election campaigns or candidates from the pulpit, the conditions of our government are certainly fair game if they are appropriate to the holidays. The actions of our governmental leaders, local, state, or federal along with the medical community in general when dealing with the Covid19 epidemic are also open to inspection and comment from the pulpit as are matters specific to our Temple congregation so, in truth, there is no lack of subject matter available to me or to Rabbi Kuvin for comment this year.
Overall, our beautiful Temple has faired reasonably well this year of 5780 thanks in large part to our Temple officers and Board of Directors who have worked quite well considering the pandemic and all the rest of the issues with our building. Religiously however, the virus has wreaked havoc with our religious service attendance and our services in general. Say what you want but Shabbat services are just not the same using Zoom. The various Torah Service and other ceremonies we have all come to love and enjoy cannot be performed as usual until the virus is gone. It is hard to lead or participate in a Shabbat service wearing a mask over ones nose and mouth.
World medical science is working feverishly to create a strong, viable preventative medicine for humans against the virus. We can only hope that science is successful quickly and that their efforts will bring us out of our quarantines and allow us to reopen our synagogues to anyone wishing to commune with Gd on Shabbat or the holidays. Until such time however, we must try to remain patient and lead our lives with care and awareness to prevent becoming ill with the lurking Corona virus. Remember Hill Street Blues? Let’s be safe out there!