Message from Rabbi Drorah Setel – April 16, 2020

Dear Temple Emanu-El Members and Friends,

At Passover I am surrounded by loving spirits: an image of my mother’s hands as I whip meringues, the voices of my Aunt Ruth and cousin Susan, while I make gefilte fish, my grandmother’s directions as I set the table. Each tradition comes with a memory that fills me with both happiness and grief. The ancient rabbis were astute observers of human experience. They understood this mixing of joy and sorrow at significant moments. Thus, the couple breaks glass at a wedding and four times a year, at Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot, Ashkenazi Jews have the custom of Yizkor, a memorial service for our loved ones.

This Shabbat, at the beginning of our service, we will observe a short Yizkor to acknowledge those who are no longer with us physically but who remain connected to us through love and memory. This year, like so much else, the ritual takes on added meaning as we find care and support while apart from one another.

These past weeks of distancing have been an opportunity for new ways of connecting. It’s been wonderful to see so many of you via Zoom and to talk on the phone with others as well. As we navigate this new terrain I hope it will be a chance to experiment in ways that involve a wider circle of community members. Please let me know if there’s anything particular you would like us to do – I would like to be as creative as possible within our current limitations.

Wishing everyone a very healthy and happy rest of Passover,

Rabbi Drorah Setel

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