Tishrei has ended and we are now in Cheshvan. Our festival cycle has a rhythm, a natural ebb and flow – times of intense spiritual work and times of quiet, when the aftereffects of that work can reverberate in our hearts and souls. After the fall journey of the Days of Awe and Sukkot, we get a quiet period before the small holidays of the winter that lead to spring and Pesach.
It is during this period that we saw the attack on Israel by Hammas, called the deadliest massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust. Our Bay Area Jewish community has come together in some awesome ways, and I have been able to attend a couple of these. The first was the Stand With Israel Vigil at Congregation Beth Shalom in Napa, on Wednesday, October 11th. We had a group of CBI members who attended, with Rabbi White, and heard some inspiring speeches and words of support. The second was the Solidarity Event for Israel at the Napa County Historic Courthouse on Oct. 22nd. We again had a good Congregation B’nai Israel contingent, and we continued to support each other afterward by taking our conversation to the Sunshine Cafe in Napa for lunch.
In this quiet time of Cheshvan, you could consider redirecting your time and energy toward nurturing real-life connections with people. Check on those who are under fire, or have loved ones in Israel. A call or email can mean a lot. If you know Holocaust survivors, be aware that they are suffering from PTSD and can use all the love and reassurance you can offer. In addition to their history of trauma, they can feel quite vulnerable. Seek out the good people.
Find comfort in community. Go to services, be with your synagogue community when you can, supporting each other, your teachers and rabbi, who are also under tremendous pressure to teach and support in meaningful ways during a crisis. Share your own reality with your friends, and confront misinformation when you safely can. Share the positive as much as you can!
Our community consistently demonstrates remarkable strength and resilience in the face of adversity. We have every confidence that together, we will persevere.
– Cheryl Gewing