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Ebbs and Flows

Sometimes it seems to me that bad things happen in waves. While we continue to battle a raging pandemic that has tragically claimed so many lives, we are now faced with continued fallout from the most violent threat to the foundation of our democracy that we have ever seen. When we witness cruelty replacing compassion as the core of a person's essence, it may easily lead us to despair over our future and that of generations to come. When racism and anti-semitism continue to be so prominently on display, it could make us wonder whether we will ever truly wipe these despicable forces from our society.


We are in mourning. In addition to mourning those individuals whose lives were lost during and after the attack on the Capitol, we mourn the loss of mutual respect, civility and tolerance of diversity. We grieve for a time when power was transferred in peace and our nation's Capitol was held in reverence despite our differences. We remember a time when we could walk among friends and hold them close, and we long for those days to return. For many of us, we cry for loved ones lost to a disease we still do not fully understand.


Ordinarily, this would be the place for me to provide you with rabbinical wisdom, perhaps words of Torah that address faith, or perhaps an assurance that our people have survived worse situations and will continue to survive. While I do believe this to be true in the depth of my soul, instead I want to offer each of you a blessing from our Torah. The "Priestly Blessing" (found in Numbers 6:24-26) was originally spoken by the Priests ("Cohanim") in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Today, it is included in Shabbat and holiday services and to mark joyous life cycle events. It is customary for the clergy to raise her hands aloft over those being blessed as these words are spoken.


So, my friends, I hold my hands over your heads and say to you these words of blessing as interpreted by Cantor Lisa Levine.


RUACH ELOHIM (The Spirit of God)


Ruach Elohim, may God's spirit be with you

Ruach Elohim, keep you safe from harm

May the love of God be your shelter in every storm


Y'varech'cha Adonai v'yishm'recha

Ya'er Adonai panav elecha vichuneka

Yisa Adonai panav elecha v'yasem l'cha shalom


Ruach Elohim, may God bless you and keep you

Bring you to the light and safe from harm

May the love of friends be your shelter from every storm


Ruach Elohim, may God's spirit be with you

Bring you to the light and loving arms

Together we will be a shelter from every storm



May each of you find comfort and love,

Rabbi-Cantor Cheri Weiss

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