Please note: due to Covid-19 restrictions, if you need to come into the building for any reason, even to just drop something off at the front desk, you will need to make an appointment, 503.246.8831, email@example.com. Thanks for understanding.
Has the word “community” changed for you over the past year the way it’s changed for me? But even in a global pandemic, there’s no denying that part of being Jewish is being in community. It’s the reason you need a minyan to say Kaddish, or why we hold sheva brachot for a wedding. We may have redefined togetherness, but we will never stop holding each other up, even if it’s from a distance.
The second set of tablets Moses delivers from God to the Israelites (the ones he doesn't smash) are different in a very specific way. This time, Moses carves the stones, and God inscribes the laws. This time, they're a collaboration.
You may know this about me, but I am a creature of habit. In particular, my favorite habit is a routine we started when we had children; it's the nightly ritual of singing the Shema together at bedtime. This routine, done day after day, provides me with a way to verbalize my connection to my children and our faith.
Early on in our personal Jewish journeys, we learn that God is everywhere and needs no invitation. But then why do the Israelites build the Mishkan (the Tabernacle)? Though we no longer have the detailed building described in Parshat Terumah, we still "invite" God to dwell with us through our actions.
The current version of who we are may seem quite different to those who knew us when. Similarly, people who only know us as adults may be surprised when they learn things about our former selves. The Torah reminds us not to dwell on memories that no longer reflect reality, but to embrace the present.
On the rare snowy days in Portland, I sometimes dream that I hear a snow plow clearing the streets. It's a cruel trick for my brain to play, but a fitting reminder about this past year - the pandemic has our sense of reality and time all confused.
Do you carry a special picture or letter in your wallet or wear a loved one’s jewelry every day? There’s something comforting about carrying with us these tangible items that connect us to our past, or to a moment of strength. It's because these things we carry are really more about the people we carry and those they carried before us.