Five Thoughts

1. WE HAD A WELL-ARMED GUARD at our synagogue service this morning. (In the United States. IN SONOMA. Which, as you may imagine, made/makes me feel both glad and sad.)

2. When our rabbi asked those visiting for the first time to rise, nearly two dozen people stood up from within the packed sanctuary. The rabbi then gave them the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26), with great feeling from him and a rousing “AMEN!” from us.

3. Prior to reciting the Kaddish, a prayer for the dead, it’s our synagogue’s custom to ask those assembled to offer names for whom they’re mourning. When it was my turn, I said, “the innocents.” (Or I might have said “the innocence.” I’m still not sure.)

4. Two things I hated, because we are generally otherwise a very welcoming community: 1.) The unfamiliar guy on the cellphone in the parking lot who asked our rabbi if this was a church (we share a campus). “Yes,” the rabbi told him. “A church.” 2.) We have been Zooming our 23-year-strong Saturday morning Torah study since COVID began, and this morning, an unfamiliar name popped into the waiting room. “Anybody here know a [Jane Doe]?” I asked. No one did. So I blocked her.

5. We also made space/time for each of us, as the spirit so moved, to share/vent/cry with each other. When it was my turn, I said that words were insufficient for the current situation. But I then related that, at Hebrew school this past week, our youngest student (and unofficial mascot) asked the rabbi, “Who do you hope wins this war?” “In war,” the rabbi told him, “nobody wins.” I hope his words entered the students’ tender hearts — and long memories.

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