Resilience During Extraordinary Times

This is an extraordinary time – COVID-19, economic uncertainty, schools and businesses indefinitely closed, social distancing and isolation.  As this is the fourth week of the month, Reflections Off the Bimah features thought leaders from throughout the Jewish world and beyond. These special posts give you the opportunity to consider important opinions you may not readily encounter.

Next week I will reflect on Passover and how to do / experience sedarim during social distancing.  This week though, I want to share two messages of hope to help us see beyond the stresses and pressures of the immediate.  First is a beautiful musical piece by Andy Grammer who is singing with the Palestinian – Israeli Jerusalem Youth Chorus (JYC), “Don’t Give Up on Me”.  The JYC was founded by Micah Hendler who grew up at Beth El.  (Click here to see more of Micah’s incredible work.) JYC brings together Israelis and Palestinian youth to forge common ground through music. Their music gives voice to seeing the world beyond the immediate.

The second piece is from Rabbi Chanan Morrison who has written extensively on Rav Abraham Isaac Kook (1865 – 1935), the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of British Mandate Palestine. Rav Kook’s message is to be cautious but not to fear.  Morrison channels Kook’s message as finding “resilience that we need to persevere in challenging times.”  Continue reading →

Posted by Rabbi Greg Harris in Guest Post, Rabbi Greg Harris, 0 comments

Summer Grandeur

person reading a book near a lakeI love the pace of summer.  People are enjoying stay-cations and far off travel.  The neighborhood ice cream truck magically pierces the heat and humidity which is finally upon us.  Even at shul, the summer stride is different.  I am afforded space to read, think and plan which is hard to find during the normal year.

During the year, the focus of the entire staff is far more than simply services, religious school or a few lifecycle events.  Simply put, the mission of Beth El is to bridge Jewish wisdom and practices to today’s lifestyles and circumstances.

This is no easy task. Continue reading →

Posted by Rabbi Greg Harris in Rabbi Greg Harris, 1 comment