20/21 March 2020, 24/25 Adar 5780

We have reached our first Shabbat together in this new world we temporarily inhabit.

Here at FPS Pauline, Zoe and I are still here and have been busy building structures to allow us to stay connected. Call and you will get one of us on the phone, we are doing everything we can to ensure we are are still operational, even if asked to stay at home.

I want to share a little of my week, it has been very focused on supporting couples cancelling weddings, B’nei Mitzvah being postponed and our members adjusting to this as well as our school students.

I feel so keenly for our 16 and 18 year olds and missing out on their exams and moving through GCSE and A Levels and leaving school at the right moment. I wonder if we understand well being cheated out of a rite of passage when it’s so needed. Judaism captures these moments for us.

It has been said everyone can;
At five years of age the study of Torah;
At ten the study of Mishnah;
At thirteen child of the commandments;
At fifteen the study of Talmud;
At eighteen the chuppah;
At twenty earn a living;
At thirty the peak of strength;
At forty wisdom;
At fifty able to give advice and so forth. (Pirkei Avot 5)

There is a time for everything, as Ecclesiastes reminds us and right now we have to be creative when that can’t happen as expected.

Yesterday morning at 4am a beloved member Viviennne Lakra died, despite ‘social distancing’ I was able to be with the family yesterday and this morning and to plan for the funeral this Sunday, the first for our community under the new Covid-19 measures. Only 20 people at the graveside, with the Ohel (prayer hall) closed and a Shiva for the family that must accept remote messages and visits rather than real ones. We will manage this along with everything else.

The human spirit is resourceful and resilient.

Shabbat Shalom to you all and do join us for our online services today.

Rabbi Rebecca