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Peace in times of fear

03/25/2020 04:45:52 PM

Mar25

Rabbi Brent Spodek

During today's 1 PM meditation, we reflected on the poem You Mustn't Show Weakness, by Yehudah Amichai, with this powerful verse:

This is the situation:

If I take the plug out of the tub

After a pleasant and luxurious bath,

I feel that all Jerusalem and with it the whole world

Will empty out into the great darkness

Indeed, in these truly crazy times, I do enjoy pleasant moments, if not luxurious baths. I delight in getting to take long walks with my nearly teen-aged daughter and getting to have a catch with my son in the middle of the day. When I am in those moments, life is indeed pleasant. But then I go back to my messages and the news and feel the anxiety of this community and it resonates with the anxiety in my own heart. Who will next be diagnosed? How will our many freelancers and consultants weather this economic storm? Will our badly battered political and civic structures be able to withstand this? Will the next jolt to our collective system be the one that knocks the plug loose, with Jerusalem and the whole world emptying out into the great darkness?

There is no certainty in this world, and in moments like these, we are painfully aware of our lack of certainty. At times like this, when fear is a constant companion, I come back to the liturgy that I feel bold enough to leave behind in easier times. In particular I come to one verse from Psalm 122 - יְהִֽי־שָׁלֹ֥ום בְּחֵילֵ֑ךְ שַׁ֝לְוָ֗ה בְּאַרְמְנֹותָֽיִךְ׃ / May there be peace in your fortresses, equanimity in your battlestations. (Equanimity is just a fancy word for chill-ness). I chant it with this tune by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, rendered by his daughter Neshama.

 

I chant it with the hope that in those moments when I rush to my battlestations, ready to protect myself and those I love from enemies real or imagined, I can find that place of peace and equanimity. For sure, there are moments to fight - against disease or against inept and corrupt political leaders - but not every moment is that moment, despite how it might feel at times. Sometimes - oftentimes, in fact - the moment in front of us is a moment to be still, to sing, to learn, to give thanks for what blessings we do enjoy, even if they are not every blessing we hope for.   

I pray that all of us who feel locked in our fortresses and battlestations -- even those who are facing the real pain of this situation -- can find that peace and equanimity. If you are looking for help on that front, or just company on the journey, please look below to find out how to join me and/or Cantor Ellen for our on-line classes and meditations.

With blessings,

Rabbi Brent

Updates: Confirmed Cases + Ways to Help

03/23/2020 04:25:46 PM

Mar23

Dear Friends:Some updates in these hard times. There are four known cases of coronavirus in our congregation; we pray for their speedy recovery aRead more...

BHA Programs During Corona Virus 

03/19/2020 06:37:08 PM

Mar19

Rabbi Brent Spodek

These are difficult and unsettling times for all of us. 

One thing we know is that the Divine dwells in the space between us, so in this moment of physical distancing, we are working to provide opportunities for social and spiritual connection.

If you are a member of BHA, you should be receiving a call from a member of our Hesed Team within the next few days; if you have needs or issues with which BHA might be...Read more...

Connecting with BHA During the Corona Virus Shutdown

03/19/2020 04:52:33 PM

Mar19

Rabbi Brent Spodek

We're introducing a few digital tools we’ll be using extensively during this crisis:

Zoom is the platform we’ll be using for real-time (as opposed to pre-recorded) video calls. It is similar to facetime or skype, if you are familiar with them, but more robust. This will be the way we share davvening, learning and social gatherings. You will be able to access BHA programs through a link in your web browser, but you might find...Read more...

Corona Virus-Our Building is Closed, Our Community is Intact

03/13/2020 02:58:38 PM

Mar13

Rabbi Brent Spodek

In light of the current state of emergency, we, in consultation with our existing Safety and Security team and our ad-hoc Coronavirus team, have made the decision to significantly re-arrange our programming at BHA until Friday, March 27, at which point we will reassess what is prudent for our community.  

The schedule changes are as follows.

Weekday Programs

Preschool: BHA Preschool will be closed through...Read more...

CANCELED: Tonight's Megilah Reading

03/09/2020 03:24:49 PM

Mar9

Dear {{first_name}},
​​​​​​​
With what might be an overabundance of caution, we are canceling tonight's megilah reading due to concernsRead more...

Hesed

03/03/2020 02:51:56 PM

Mar3

Rabbi Brent Spodek

At our best, BHA operates as a kinship group - a large extended family that looks out for each other. 

And so it happens with some regularity, that members of BHA reach out to me or Cantor Ellen, looking for a little help. 

Sometimes it's a ride to a...Read more...

Passover 2020

02/26/2020 01:24:59 PM

Feb26

Rabbi Brent Spodek

 

The great medieval mystic known as the Ramban famously said that Jewish families don't come together in order to celebrate the holidays; instead, we have holidays in order to bring Jewish families together. 

We’re coming up...Read more...

Some Thoughts on Purim

02/19/2020 03:47:59 PM

Feb19

Rabbi Brent Spodek

The fantastic holiday of Purim is coming up on the evening of March 9 - time to get ready!

At the most basic level, Purim is a raucous celebration of the story of Esther. In the biblical book of Esther, the Jews of ancient Persia faced certain...Read more...

The Art of Heresy

02/12/2020 12:50:26 PM

Feb12

Rabbi Brent Spodek

 

Anyone can be a sinner, but it takes both knowledge and integrity to be a heretic. 

I’m very excited to explore two of Judaism’s most important heretics - Alisha ben Abuya and Baruch Spinoza. 

Alisha ben Abuya, known also...Read more...

Thu, April 2 2020 8 Nisan 5780