As we all know, things are changing very fast for all of us. I would like you to know that the Management Committee and I have been thinking together and working hard to set up ways for us to continue our community life during this challenging period. With our focus on the Jewish principle of pikuach nefesh, the saving of life, and of course in line with the strong (and evolving) advice from Public Health England, the NHS and the government, we are making plans to transfer all of our communal activities to the phone and internet.
We are very excited about our Kehillah Zoom Shabbat tomorrow morning – like many other communities, we are creating new ways to have services and to be together in community, even if virtually.
Here is the link to Saturday morning’s Zoom meeting. We will start at 11am but open the room from 10:15 Saturday morning so that anybody who would like to come in a bit earlier to get acclimatised with the features of Zoom can have time to do so. We will also leave the room open for an extended time after the service so that people can stick around, chat, and check in — much like we do at Kiddush.
If you are looking for a virtual Kabbalat Shabbat service to join tonight, I am co-leading a service with Student Rabbi Anna Posner for the BKY Community using their liturgy. Here is a link to BKY’s Kabbalat Shabbat Zoom meeting. All are welcome to join us from 6:30pm.
While these changes may feel daunting, we are encouraged by the ways that our community is already growing closer in new ways through online engagement. We have already had one very successful online Adult Education class, and Rabbi Mark Solomon’s final session in the Trans-formations series will take place online next Tuesday. Omar is laying plans for online cheder, and will be contacting parents soon about that. Our Seder, led by Student Rabbi Eleanor Davis with some of our lay leaders, will be online, as will everything, for the time being.
Many of us may be feeling more than usually fragile at this uncertain time, and we are also putting in place ways to stay in touch, starting with making sure our most vulnerable members know that they are not alone. Many of you have already volunteered without being asked – thank you so much! – and there will be plenty of opportunities.
We are already learning from this experience, and without doubt there will be more to learn that we haven’t even dreamed of yet. And you can be sure that we will be monitoring the news and the advice, and we will gather again physically as a community just as soon as it is safe and advisable.
Cantor Tamara Wolfson