We are so grateful to be in community together in this dark time. Last night, we joined with over a dozen congregations from across Montgomery County of all denominations to sing and pray together at a vigil at Har Shalom. This morning, we welcomed parents of our Early Childhood Center students who joined us for our weekly, whole-school “Shabbat Sing.” We breathed and danced together and we sang about building a better world. We recited berachot and we shared the sweetness of challah and grape juice together.
Today, we received a moving message from our friend and colleague, Rabbi Dotan Arieli, who is the spiritual leader at Kibbutz Sha’ar Ha’Amakim, in the north of Israel. Their community has been hosting many displaced families from kibbutzim in the south of Israel. Dotan shared a photo of the families singing together at a Kabbalat Shabbat service this evening.
After this breathless, sleepless week, we are holding on to these images of hope as we welcome in the healing light of Shabbat. We are grateful for the embrace of our Shaare Torah, Montgomery County, and DMV Jewish communities. As our Torah portion, Bereishit, reminds us, it is not good to be alone. Though we all need moments to ourselves to tend to our self care, the weight of this moment is too great for any of us to bear alone. Whatever you may be feeling, please know that you are not alone. Let’s continue to show up for each other and for the people of Israel.
Thank God for the precious gift of Shabbat. We look forward to finding solace and strength in community as we sing and pray together and we hope you’ll join us for services and kiddush.
We have the blessing of celebrating the 30th anniversary of Brian Abraham and Corrin Ferber and we are grateful to them for sponsoring tomorrow’s kiddush lunch that will include hummus and falafel.
We are grateful to our neighbors of different faiths who have reached out to us with condolences, caring and support. At tomorrow’s services, a small group from the Kentlands Ward Latter Day Saints Church will stand beside our greeters and officer to let us know that we are not alone as we enter the synagogue.
We are sending love to you and to your dear ones, here, in Israel and all over the world.
May it be a Shabbat of healing and peace.
Rabbi Annie & Rabbi Yosef
God of Life
Who heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds
May it be your will to hear the prayer of mothers
For you did not create us to kill each other
Nor to live in fear, anger or hatred in your world
But rather you have created us so we can grant permission to one another to sanctify
Your name of Life, your name of Peace in this world.
For these things I weep, my eye, my eye runs down with water
For our children crying at nights,
For parents holding their children with despair and darkness in their hearts
For a gate that is closing, and who will open it before the day has ended?
And with my tears and prayers which I pray
And with the tears of all women who deeply feel the pain of these difficult days
I raise my hands to you please God have mercy on us
Hear our voice that we shall not despair
That we shall see life in each other,
That we shall have mercy for each other,
That we shall have pity on each other,
That we shall hope for each other
And we shall write our lives in the book of Life
For your sake God of Life
Let us choose Life.
For you are Peace, your world is Peace and all that is yours is Peace,
And so shall be your will and let us say Amen.