March 29, 2020
IJC Rabbinical Intern
We are now two weeks into lockdown and IJC’s community connectedness is proving to be very resilient. Well ‘attended’ Kabbalat Shabbat, Shacharit and study sessions have temporarily replaced our scheduled ‘live’ meetings and more is on the way. Our love and concern for one another has been expressed in a multitude of ways as we reach out via online communications and just simple phone calls. Ex-members now living abroad have been joining us too, proof if any was needed that they miss us as much as we miss them.
The Belgian authorities have added two weeks to the lockdown with the likelihood of two more, and we are all being faced with challenges we didn’t expect or plan for. IJC has many elderly and vulnerable members, families struggling to cope without school or daycare, and singles cut off from their social networks. And many of us now count friends and family among those who have been directly affected by the virus.
Being connected more intensely as a community in these troubled times is our first line of support. And many who are strong have offered concrete assistance to those in greater need, all within the limits imposed on us. Our preparations for Pesach continue unhindered, with creative online Seder solutions being made ready as I write.
IJC is also a community of faith: open, questioning and never dogmatic. Even those in our community who find it hard or even impossible to believe can be comforted by words of prayer rooted in our Jewish tradition.
So, I dare to share this prayer in the midst of my own questions, doubts and convictions. It was written by Martin S. Cohen, Rabbi of Shelter Rock Jewish Center in New York and shared by my Geiger teacher Admiel Kosman.
A Prayer in the Time of Corona
Dear God in Heaven, protect our families, our friends, and our neighbours as we negotiate these troubled seas in which we find ourselves afloat. Ever mindful of the fact that we are all Your creatures, we turn to You for guidance and for strength as we pray that the public officials charged with bringing us through this crisis be granted wisdom, intelligence, and insight born of compassion and charity. And we pray too that the physicians, nurses, and hospital employees who are on the front lines be spared all distress and disease as they care for the stricken, for the elderly, and for the infirm. Most of all, we pray that You look with kindness and generosity on us all, and particularly on those already infected for whose recovery we this day ardently pray, as is written in Your holy Torah, “For I, the Almighty, am the source of Your healing.”
Amen, may such be Your will!