Oasis Songs: Musings from Rav D
Friday, May 15, 2020 / 21 Iyar 5780
THROUGH A LENS OF FIRE: Hasidic Insights on the Torah continues on Wednesday May 20th at 12:30 pm. Please check the CNS calendar for the most up to date Zoom link.
Summary: In addition to discussing three upcoming markers in our community’s life, I wanted to share an interesting anonymous story that is getting passed around on email and social media. I found it sweet and worth considering. Its basic premise is to imagine what the future will think of these days we are living through, and that’s a worthwhile exercise.
Next Wednesday, May 20th at 7PM marks the graduation of our 7-11th graders, with special honor given to our Tichon 12th graders. This celebration has long been a milestone of the CNS calendar year, as we learn from our graduate’s poignant wisdom before they head to new adventures. While graduation is always nicely attended, this year’s virtual festivities offer an opportunity for many more of us to participate. If you feel like you need some uplift, or just want to kvell, please RSVP with Mel Berwin, firstname.lastname@example.org, to receive a link to the celebration. It is always a heart-warming evening.
Yashar koach to our graduates, Ryan Alberts, Zachary Goldsmith, Orly Meyer, Ethan Newman, and Rael Wendrow.
Please stay tuned next week for full details on our Shavuot plans, and some marvelous top notch scholars who will be joining us for our Tikkun Leil Shavuot. Shavuot observance begins on Thursday, May 28th.
June is Pride Month. In addition to our regular Pride Shabbat, this year we are dedicating the entire month to learning and celebration. Each week, we will have a scheduled event, and have the opportunity to learn with Mel Berwin, Rabbi Eve, Cantor Bitton and me. Stay tuned for more details!
A Future Conversation, Imagined
How are you living through the Coronivrus pandemic? It’s a frequent question we ask and are asked. Some people are really focused on the day-by-day, others try to peer down the path and see where we might end up. Your clergy team is already dreaming about this year’s High holiday services, so whether we want to or not, we have to be thinking several months out.
But what about looking 70 years out, much as a futurist might? The question might sound absurd. After all, no one can say with certainty what the full impact or meaning of next month will be, let alone this entire pandemic period. Simultaneously, history has the advantage of seeing things with greater clarity. As they say, hindsight is 20-20.
It seems like a worthwhile mental exercise—if we attempt to imagine future people studying us for their history classes, what might they see? What lessons would they draw from how we have handled this generation’s great challenge?
These days, speculative thinking of this sort finds many forms of expression. Like you, I get sent many interesting stories, cartoons, jokes and silly videos; the volume and diversity of those offerings has increased with all of us locked at home. Here is one of these anonymous creations which really spoke to me. As hopeful as it is, the image it paints isn’t how many of us are going through our days. But maybe that’s the message. Maybe we can use this story’s inspiration to help us think about what these days mean to us. And if we do so, maybe our own experience of these times will be easier?
Child – “How old are you, Grandpa?”
Grandpa – “I’m 81, dear.”
Child – “So does that mean you were alive during the Coronavirus?”
Grandpa – “Yes, I was.”
Child – “Wow. That must have been horrible, Grandpa. We were learning about that at school this week.
They told us about how all the schools had closed. And moms and dads couldn’t go to work so didn’t have as much money to do nice things.
They said that you weren’t allowed to go and visit your friends and family and couldn’t go out anywhere.
They told us that the shops and stores ran out of lots of things so you didn’t have much bread, and flour, and toilet rolls.
They said that summer holidays were cancelled. And they told us about all those thousands of people that got very sick and who died.
They explained how hard all the doctors and nurses and all essential workers worked, and that lots of them died, too.
That must have been so horrible, grandpa!”
Grandpa – “Well, that is all correct.
And I know that because I read about it when I was older.
But to tell you the truth I remember it differently…
I remember playing in the garden for hours with mom and dad and having picnics outside and lots of bbqs.
I remember making things and fishing with my Dad and baking with my Mom.
I remember making forts and learning how to do hand stands and back flips. I remember having quality time with my family.
I remember Mom’s favorite words becoming ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea…’
Rather than ‘Maybe later or tomorrow I’m a bit busy’.
I remember making our own bread and pastry. I remember having movie night three or four times a week instead of just one.
It was a horrible time for lots of people you are right.
But I remember it differently.”
Consider how our children will remember these times.
Be in control of the memories they are creating right now, so that through all the awful headlines and emotional stories for so many that they will come to read in future years, they can remember the happy times.”
Shabbat Table Talk
- once recall a friend saying, “when I was growing up, I had no idea how poor we were. There was so much love, that I didn’t realize until later what we didn’t have.” Do you have any memories like this—where what you recall is so different from how others might have viewed your life?
- Can you recall moments of your life whose meaning has changed as you aged? Are you aware of what it meant at the time, and when the meaning changed for you? What made those changes possible?
- Coronavirus has taken so much from us. There are so many forms of loss we have all endured. What gifts has it given you?
If you’d like to continue this discussion, follow this link to CNS’s Facebook page to share your own perspectives on the topics raised in this week’s Oasis Songs. Comments will be moderated as necessary.