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may their memories always be for a blessing.

10/21/2021 09:14:09 AM

Oct21

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

We are on the cusp of the week that none of us look forward to, as we observe the third commemoration of the massacre at the Tree of Life. One of the questions that I most frequently get asked is: how are you and the community doing? My general answer is that when viewed from 30,000 feet, I would hope that there is an upward trend towards healing. When viewed under a microscope, that same line shows regular peaks and valleys, representing the times of the day that the mental health is good and the times that it is not. For this coming week, I would anticipate that there will be far more valleys than peaks, and that is ok, because we are human.

If you are feeling depressed or overwhelmed, you are not alone, and there is assistance out there, so that you do not feel as though you have to manage alone. You do not. If you do not know where to go, please reach out to me, and I will do my best to help you.

If you are like me, you most probably have more questions than answers, with the grandest of all questions being “What is the proper way to remember”? With the Jewish community faced with an unprecedented act in annals of American history, we have to look elsewhere for answers. Alas, our history is replete with examples of horror. In the end, we remember our loved ones, regardless of the number, through study and gemilut chasadim, the performance of deeds of lovingkindness. We do them, I think, for two reasons: 1) To elevate the souls of our departed, and 2) To demonstrate to the rest of the world that despite your antisemitism, we do more Jewish. Thus, our community will virtually welcome guest scholars from across the globe as well as fan out throughout the greater Pittsburgh area to lend a hand to those in need.

The uniqueness of the Jewish calendar is that we are based upon the lunar cycle, with a lunar month consisting of 29 ½ days. A lunar year is 354 days long, so solar and lunar dates rarely coincide. To be certain that Passover, a Spring holiday, occurs in the Spring, we add a lunar month of thirty days seven times within a nineteen-year cycle. Thus, according to some, our holidays are always early, as they were this year, or late. From a Jewish perspective, they are always on time.

With the lunar date being the 18th of Cheshvan, and the solar date being October 27, they will coincide every nineteen years. This year, it will be October 24 and October 27. One date, two different observances. The lunar date seems to be a more introspective, internal date. The solar date seems to be a more external, public remembrance. The beauty is that people from all walks of life are moved to commemorate this date in a way that is meaningful to them, and that by itself is incredibly moving to everyone. Our remembrances will continue to evolve over time, but one thing is certain: the love and embrace from the entire world will never be forgotten.

May the memories of

Joyce Fienberg

Richard Gottfried

Rose Mallinger

Jerry Rabinowitz

Cecil Rosenthal

David Rosenthal

Bernice Simon

Sylvan Simon

Daniel Stein

Melvin Wax

Irving Younger

 

always be for a blessing.

Mon, November 29 2021 25 Kislev 5782