A quick public service message to say you are important, you matter, you count. In the Book of Numbers, Bamidbar, a census of the Jews traveling through the desert is taken, twice. At the beginning of the journey and again at its end. Funds were raised and property/assets disbursed according to the counting.
The National Faithful Census Weekend is coming up March 27-29. Please be counted. Fill out your Census as an act of community empowerment this weekend or anytime over the coming weeks. The Census can (and should!) be done from the safety and comfort of your home. It is simple, safe and secure and can be done by going to www.2020census.gov. A complete count determines Congressional representation as well as federal resources to Colorado for the next ten years, approximately $2,300 per person per year to support social safety net programs including Unemployment Insurance, Highway grants, Water Pollution Control State, Interstate, and Tribal Program Support, Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, State and Drug Free Schools and Community Grants, Child Abuse and Neglect State Grants, National Fire Plan - Wildland Urban Interface Community Fire Assistance and hundreds more. You can see that these funds go towards a vast variety of issues important to our state and its inhabitants.
When we answer the Census, we declare that we are part of “we the people” and commit to doing our part to bring critical funding and political representation to Colorado.
We each embody the Divine image, b'tzelem Eloheem. As we continue to watch out for one another by carefully following the CDC and WHO guidelines to get through COVID 19, we ask for blessings for those who are ill, those on the front lines taking care of them: physicians, nurses, aides, transportation workers, administrators; those providing resources for the general public at stores, pharmacies, transportation sources, police and fire personnel; the teachers learning to adapt to online curriculums and student interaction; and all those who are researching, creating, assisting in the worldwide fight against this virus. We extend Mi Sheberach blessings as well as for everyone, each and every person who needs support, hope and strength to weather these circumstances. Every person counts and we give thanks we are here to participate in this counting.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higiyanu laz'man hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.
Blessings and Shabbat Shalom
I began writing to address the need to limit gatherings for ‘non-essential’ events when I heard about the fire in the social hall. It struck me that there are no non-essential gatherings for us. Every time we gather, we generate a spirit, a vibrancy and a relevance that simply cannot be duplicated across the digital void. A series of zeros and ones cannot substitute for a series of handshakes and hugs. Yet, we must face reality and recognize that our community contains a diverse population including elders and members of the vulnerable population, including people on medication, on ventilators and pre and post surgical candidates, among others.
Governor Jared Polis wrote in his declared Colorado state of emergency that recognizing “our role in helping lead the effort to help limit the potential spread of this virus locally… (means) those over 60 and those with chronic health issues are urged to avoid public gatherings.” However, those may be the people who are in the greatest need of socialization.
Most of us, like most of the cognizant world, are under stress from both an economic meltdown and the coronavirus proliferation. Our Temple community is handling additional stress from a confluence of attacks against our property directly and against our beliefs and identity as a result of those attacks.
We each approach this time and situation from our own perspective and with our separate resources. As I change the channels, I hear quite diverse information being espoused both within the United States and especially from abroad, about what is happening and how to approach it. We cannot control what is happening, except at an individual level, but we can control how we react to it. It is appropriate to be fearful, but not of each other. Now is the time to use our well honed skills of sharing with and listening to one another without condemnation or becoming offended.
So while we are being asked to build physical boundaries between us, 3 feet is the current recommendation, we need to continue to build bridges across the community, reaching out by phone or electronically to stay in touch and to check in, particularly with those in our vulnerable population. As a hugger, this feels like an immense loss, but losing members of our community would be a much bigger one. I will give up hugging to limit the number of names added to the Mi Sheberach list.
I don't know of a community that is more aware of or responsive to one another's needs. Other people are reaching out to assist us and we will continue to function even while our building is under repair. Meanwhile, we can be grateful that once again, no one was injured and the sanctuary was spared.
I appreciate all the work done behind the scenes by our board to keep Temple Emanuel up, running and serving the Jewish community of Pueblo and the surrounding area. I am thankful for the participation and support of all our members as well as our non-member support system and community.
May God grant us peace and understanding. May our world and the inhabitants upon it be blessed with rafuah shalaymah, a complete and speedy healing. May your Shabbat be filled with comfort and light.
Rabbi Birdie Becker
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Community educator, choreographer, composer, performer, Becker, M.S.W., M.Ed., M.R.S., Ph.D., serves as rabbi for Temple Emanuel-Pueblo, cellist for Apples and Honey and is a Storahtelling Maven.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ISRAEL
WOMEN OF THE WALL http://www.nytimes.com/video/2012/12/22/world/middleeast/100000001969698/women-at-the-western-wall.html