Judaism is a religion of rituals. Using our senses – taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight, Jewish
rituals transform our abstract emotions into concrete actions. Through ritual, we are able to
understand what we’re feeling, give our emotions expression, and connect with others and
with the Divine.
As Temple Emanuel Sinai begins our gradual process of re-gathering with Shabbat Services tomorrow night, we need our own ritual. The past 15 months have been a whirlwind of emotions, and we’re not quite done yet. Physically returning to our building and to in-person activities is a consequential moment for our congregation, and yet we know that there are many people who are not ready to gather in large groups. We want be respectful and inclusive of each of you and of your choices. So I’ve created a ritual that is relevant for both those who will be worshipping in person and those who will be worshipping online. There are 3 (easy) parts:
Part 1 – At home for everyone
Tear three strips of paper. On each strip, write your answer to one of the following questions:
- What is something new you learned or started during the Pandemic that you want to keep doing, i.e. your “Covid Keeper”?
- What is a habit, behavior, thing, etc. that you want to let go of and leave behind as we gradually move out of the Pandemic?
- What is something NEW you want to embrace (habit, behavior, etc) or how would you like to be different as we move forward?
- Optional: Put the strips in a self-addressed stamped envelope and bring to Shabbat Services when you attend for the first time – whether it’s June 11 or sometime in September. There will be a box for the envelopes, and in 6 months we will mail them to you.
- Optional: Anonymously share your answers. Go to www.menti.com and enter the code 77534496, or follow the direct link: https://www.menti.com/2nmt489pd7 or use your phone’s camera to use this QR code.
PART 2 – This part of the ritual will be explained during services
- For those who are at home and attending services online: bring something in from the outside – a plant, a flower, a leaf, a stone; or better yet, take your device and enjoy services while sitting outside.
- For those of you who will be attending services in-person: Think about a small item that is in your eyesight from when you were attending services online, something that could fit in your pocket: a favorite pen, a small decorative item (otherwise known as a chotchke) – nothing special per se; its significance is that it comes from inside your home near your device.
PART 3 – This part of the ritual will take place during services, in person and online.
We will honor this moment of transition for our congregation, honor each individual’s personal timeline, and celebrate the kedusha – the holiness of our entire community.