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This Shabbat

10/12/2023 12:45:41 PM



Dear Friends,

We are nearing the conclusion of a horrific week, one that was full of panic, despondence, confusion, anger, and empathy for our actual and spiritual family in Israel. In my view, this week has resembled the halachic category of Aninut – a term which refers to the pressure of unfathomable shock. We have indeed been silenced, overwhelmed by the unbearable burden of loss. It has also been a week of inspiring unity and resolve, with heroic activism as well as essential financial and emotional support.

Without an end in sight, I can only ask that you keep doing what you’re doing; and then some.

Most practically, stand with Israel by supporting the helpers. Our dear friends Rabbi Joe Wolfson and Jonathan Muhlrad have been leading the JLIC effort in Israel to support those who have lost so much. Our friend Leila Deluty has been distributing supplies to reservists called upon to serve. I am so proud of their efforts and adamant that we have a hand in them. You can venmo @sixthstreetsynagogue or donate on our website. Be sure to specify that your donation is for Israel Aid.

Support each other. While this sort of peril and loss, as well as the emotional responses they engender, aren’t new to our national history, they are - in fact - new to most of us. Remember that we all come to the (kiddush) table with different psychological skill sets and traumas. Look out for one another, check in, and be flexible to, and understanding of, the broad spectrum that is the emotional health of others. I ask that when you speak to each other, you be mindful of potentially inflammatory language and gruesome content; particularly in the presence of children.

We are in fact a Community Synagogue, and as a community we find comfort in weeping together and praying together. We also find comfort in observing together and celebrating together. This Shabbat – Shabbat Bereishit - we will celebrate the Aufruf of our dear friend, Zack Dukoff, as he is called to the Torah before marrying Gloria Epstein. I ask that you pray for a brighter future for all of us, as you celebrate them.

In that spirit, I pray that this Shabbat represent, the words of Lekha Dodi:

 קומי  צאי מתוך ההפיכה
Arise! Leave from the midst of the turmoil.

עורי עורי שיר דברי
Awaken! Awaken! Utter a song.

והיו למשסה שאסיך ורחקו כל מבלעיך
ישיש עליך אלהיך כמשוש חתן על כלה

Your despoilers will become your spoil,
Far away shall be any who would devour you.
Your God will rejoice concerning you,
As a groom rejoices over a bride.

With love and blessings of peace, safety, and consolation,

Gavriel Bellino   

Fri, May 24 2024 16 Iyyar 5784