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a Shehecheyanu moment

06/03/2021 09:41:23 AM

Jun3

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

I attended my first in-person morning minyan since March 13, 2020 today. That’s nearly 15 months, or, 445 days. It was great to greet people personally that I have only greeted through Zoom, and one had just become a grandparent. Alas, the traditional L’chayim was absent. I was asked to lead the davening, which I was honored to do. I began by asking those present to permit me the privilege of reciting the Shehecheyanu bracha: Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha-olam, Shehecheyanu V’kiy’manu V’higianu Lazman Hazeh. Praised are You, Hashem our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this day.

I felt a bit emotional, and had to take a moment to regain my voice and lead the congregation in davening, something that just flows through my veins as the midichlorians flow through all beings in the world of Star Wars. I had extra inspiration that morning, having been privileged to emerge from my COVID cocoon unscathed. Yet livestreaming remains, and from my perspective it will remain, as it will continue to be a lifeline for those unable to attend services, a way for them to remain connected to their Jewish community. I do not foresee any legitimate reason to curtail the availability of a livestream feed. If you prefer to lounge in bed on a Shabbat morning yet tune into services, I’m grateful for your virtual presence. Of course I would rather that you be in attendance in the sanctuary, so that I can personally greet you, but I also recognize that each person is going to choose what suits them for that particular day.

I’m also excited that we, Tree of Life, will be resuming our Shabbat morning services this coming June 5. We will simultaneously livestream, as we recognize that there are those who are not yet comfortable attending in person, or might have legitimate personal reasons that they cannot attend. Thus we will continue to offer ways to keep you connected. Friday evening services will remain in a livestream format for approximately another month, as we experiment during June with the duality of in-person and livestream, to work out any technological and room geography challenges so that we can present a meaningful service regardless of whether you are in the room or at home. I hope that possibly by July we can resume Friday evening services in-person, as we also explore opportunities for outside worship during the nice weather.

For those who will be joining us in-person, I ask that you arrive before services begin at 9:45 AM, so that we can hold a special communal re-opening ceremony, expressing gratitude to God that we are alive, well, and able to gather safely for services. I for one look forward to seeing you there, and although Levy Hall holds 225 people, may we be cursed with SRO every week! I’m excited for our Shehecheyanu moment.

Wed, June 23 2021 13 Tammuz 5781