Strength for the Journey

Dear Readers, 

I don’t remember longing for Shabbat as much as I have this week! 

Every single one of us is stressed out, bombarded by news, unsure of the future, afraid (don’t deny it) of the virus and its effects on us, our loved ones, our communities and the economy. 

For those of you who believe in a Higher Power, this is the time to keep repeating (singing!) the beautiful and necessary phrase recited at Havdallah (at the close of Shabbat Saturday night) from Isaiah Chapter 2: 

The translation after the highlight is mine, but reflects a deep truth: there are things we control and things we can’t control.

We should all concentrate on what we can do and just let go what we can’t control, because worry about it is unproductive.

I know this is difficult. I struggle with this every single day as someone who really likes to control my world.
Because I know it’s an issue, I work on it.
And all that work (and meditation and prayer and exercise and breathing and…) is what we need to call upon right now.

We are here for one another.
If you need help or just a moment to vent or a joke to see you through – anything you can think of – please reach out to us. 

There will be much more information in the coming days and weeks.
Much of it will be stressful.
As it rolls in, please take deep breaths; it physiologically helps.
4 counts breathing in and 8 counts breathing out will slow down your heart-rate very quickly.
Identify where in your body you are storing the tension and stress and consciously let it go.

Below are two poems to contemplate in the days ahead and over this blessed Shabbat.

We at CAJE are sending each of you precious and beautiful souls much calm and strength for this journey.

by Lynn Ungar

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
n ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

A Prayer of Hope During this Pandemic
by Rabbi Naomi Levy

We are frightened, God,
Worried for our loved ones,
Worried for our world.
Helpless and confused,
We turn to You
Seeking comfort, faith and hope.

Teach us God, to turn our panic into patience,
And our fear into acts of kindness and support.
Our strong must watch out for our weak,
Our young must take care of our old.
Help each one of us to do our part to halt the spread of this virus

Send strength and courage to the doctors and nurses
In the front-lines of this battle,
Fortify them with the full force of their healing powers.
Send wisdom and insight to the scientists
Working day and night across the world to discover healing treatments.
Bless their efforts, God.
Fill our leaders with the wisdom and the courage
To choose wisely and act quickly.
Help us, God, to see that we are one world,
One people
Who will rise above this pandemic together.

Send us health God,
Watch over us,
Grace us with Your love,
Bless us with Your healing light.
Hear us God,
Heal us God,

Shabbat Shalom


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