|Dear Friends at KI,
A couple of days ago I came home from a peaceful trip in isolation up north. After seeing nobody for 3 days and being more or less off the grid, it was a shock to return to what felt like a strange new world. One thing immediately became clear: as long as you need to be in self-quarantine, we at KI need to let you know that we are here for you, we are thinking of you, we are praying for you, and the Board and I are in the process of setting in motion quite a number of activities to bring KI to you.
I sent a message earlier about the forthcoming online Shabbat service. I envision that we broadcast all planned services, not to mention classes and social-cultural activities. If I have my way, we will no longer announce that an activity has been “cancelled.’ Through communication technology we can bring nearly everything we do to most KI homes. If you own a computer and have an internet connection, we can help you access simple forms of video conferencing.
We are working to expand bikkur cholim so everyone who is isolated and in an “at-risk” category can get food, supplies, or whatever else you need.
Most importantly, know that KI is here for you. Even though our facilities are closed, Katherine will be working from home to answer your questions and service your needs. The Board and other congregational leaders are working with me to develop programs and activities. And I am completely here for you in this current period of isolation. If you need to talk, do not hesitate to contact me. And hopefully by that time I will have already contacted you.
>From my contacts both in the Jewish world and in the interfaith world, there is an incredible amount of creative and exciting work being done to reach out to congregational members and offer support. There are far more options available than we have the time and the staff to provide, but we will do what we can. I am always ready to provide resources and offer recommendations, but I believe that we can best serve your needs if you let us know what these are. Please contact me with your needs, your wishes, and your suggestions. How can we be there for you, and for your friends in the congregation?
Regretfully neither medical interventions, social isolation, nor prayer will make this pandemic vanish as quickly as it descended on us; at the same time these “weapons” of science, hygiene, and religion will all play a significant role in limiting the number of severe cases. We are all doing our part, and even if we can’t hug one another or tear challah together we can still be a community of love, support, and connection. Our people have survived for thousands of years, enduring the most unimaginable hardships. And we will survive the current scourage, most likely emerging as a stronger, more cohesive tribe than we were before.
With blessings and prayers of health and safety for you and your loved ones,
Rabbi Michael Zimmerman