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May 1st, 2020 | 7th of Iyyar, 5780 | Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim


Dear Beit Rabban Community,


Thank you to all who joined us this week and helped make Yom Haatzmaut at Beit Rabban Ba’Anan so memorable. I never envisioned hosting a ZOOMriyah, in fact I’m not sure such a concept existed before this week, but I will always cherish memories from the experience.


There are few things that bond community more powerfully than singing together in person. Undoubtedly, there are few things more painful than listening to people sing together on Zoom- the lag time is a terrible, terrible thing. To me it is most closely reminiscent of crossing the threshold into my home after a long day of work and hearing everyone screaming different things from different rooms. Naturally, I was not totally convinced that we should proceed with our planned zimriyah (sing along) for Yom Haatzmaut once we switched to distance learning. But we did it. Parents recorded each of their children singing their class song for Yom Haatzmaut. Our music teacher mixed the individual recordings into class harmonies. We played the songs on Zoom, spotlighted children singing along to their class songs, and all sang along. Our dance teacher led us in rikudei am (Israeli dance) intervals. I could almost feel my screen shake from all the energetic bouncing I watched and participated in. I would never have planned such a crazy program - it makes no sense except in the context of everyone being stuck at home. And yet, it was a magical celebration of Yom Haatzmaut, with beautiful elements that we would not have experienced in school, like having parents and grandparents able to fully participate.


These days we are constantly faced with questions of how to navigate communal experiences using traditions and conventions that were designed with physical proximity in mind. Whether it is a joyful rite of passage like a Bar Mitzvah, or somber lifecycle event like shiva, we are forced to reimagine everything right now. It is disappointing, painful and exhausting. But, our communities are figuring it out with each new need. Sometimes the experiences we curate under these circumstances exceed our expectations. On Yom Haatzmaut this week I felt the virtual hug of a full community even more intensely than I have in previous years.


We are very lucky to have this community when we are together in person and, maybe even more importantly, when we cannot be. At a time when so many families are struggling because of health, loss, finances, or simply the act of juggling everything at once, we need to step up our communal infrastructure. In the next section of this email, I share a couple ways you can support the community right now. Please also let us know if you need support. We are here for each other.

May this be a restful, rejuvenating and healthy Shabbat for all,

Stephanie

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