This Passover, the seders will indeed be a different night for so many obvious reasons. Many of the people we normally share the evening with may be far away—or even half a mile away. But for all intents and purposes, they might as well be across the world. That will be different. Many of us will be holding our seders by Zoom. That will surely be different.
As COVID 19 continues to spread, Oregon has finally come under a complete lock-down, called “Stay Home, Stay Safe.” Despite the euphemistic name, this new order, and the restrictions leading up to it, have posed severe challenges to a religion and a culture that are centered on gathering, praying and breaking bread together.
I am writing today’s Oasis Song as a rabbi, a father and a spouse, and with Laura’s input as well. As you well know, this Saturday is our son Amitai’s bar mitzvah. For any family, this is a cherished milestone, tinged with so many powerful emotions. Pride in a child’s accomplishment and how they are growing up so quickly.
I want to make one last pitch for people to vote in the World Zionist Elections. And I want to do so by first talking about what civility is and is not, and then applying that understanding to an extremely offensive advertisement put out by one of the Slates running this year.
Unsurprisingly, both the Bible and the Talmud confront illness head on. As we know, the Torah is not squeamish about reality. Illness, intimate relations, monetary status, politics. All have pride of place in our sacred writings precisely because the Torah is a guide for life itself.
While the Israel360 lecture was going on, a great many other people were at home, glued to their television sets for the ninth Democratic primary debate, held in Nevada. But there’s another election going on, which I’ve previously talked about here, and that is the World Zionist Congress Elections.