While science may help lift the veils of our ignorance and solve many mysteries, it does not bleed the mystical from our lived experience.
Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz
About Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz
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It is hard to think in exponential increases, in orders of magnitude, in terms of emergency declarations and social distancing. This is the stuff of dystopian near-future sci-fi and we seem to have landed in the middle of it.
As you have read in President Sue Weinberg’s congregational letter, we are switching our congregational life from in-person services and activities to online activities in accordance with an evidence-based policy of social distancing.
Parashat Mishpatim is a perfect storm. Opening the book of Exodus during volatile political times is an exercise in confirmation bias in the best of cases, but Mishpatim speaks to our current reality – in an election year, no less – in uncanny ways.
Like many of you, I’ve been following the headlines about the Coronavirus outbreak. While I leave assessments of this new virus to the epidemiologists and public health experts, I think we can glean meaningful insights about our moral responses by reading between the headlines.
I am a newcomer to this beautiful country, an immigrant, a Jewish leader in a time of rising anti-Semitism and a white woman who is yearning to learn about the African American experience as well as reckon with the legacy of her own skin color. We who walk with both a sense of vulnerability as well as our own privilege are called to embrace our complexities and contradictions.
Now that the chanukkiyot are packed away, the candlewax has been scraped from window sills, the dinners, the Season’s post cards, the gift wrappings, champagne corks and fireworks are behind us, what we have left to reflect on are not only our expanded waistlines but the family relationships we built during the winter Holiday Season.