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notes from rabbi chaya

01/17/2023 01:06:17 PM


Or Shalom has experienced the deaths of two members recently.

Al Sion, zichrono livracha (may his memory be for a blessing) and

Beth Abrams, zichrona livracha (may her memory be for a blessing).

It is a Jewish tradition to say Baruch Dayan HaEmet upon hearing the news of a death.  This means Blessed is the True Judge. One can interpret this to mean that only God really understands why someone is taken when they are.  However because this can so easily be interpreted in ways that might not feel so supportive, some of us have felt more connected to the expression: Baruch El Male Rachamim, Blessed is the One who is filled with Compassion. (The language comes from the El Male prayer.) It doesn’t matter if you say something, or what you say. What matters is that our tradition has invited us to notice this moment, whether we have been expecting the death after a long decline, or whether it was very sudden and unexpected.

We have been touched by the death of two souls who have been an integral part of Or Shalom in their own unique, beautiful ways. May the One who is Filled with Compassion, receive them both in gentleness, and may the mourners be comforted.

On January 25, I will begin my four-part healing class where we will explore a variety of aspects of healing in our tradition. During the last class, we will learn customs to make comforting each other during sickness, death, and mourning more meaningful. We will also learn about Shiva traditions. My favorite way to teach about Shiva traditions is to say bring “open hearts, quiet voices, and let the mourners set the pace.” We will discuss how to do this.  Won’t you join me?

I also want to encourage you to come to Friday night services to celebrate Shabbat in community and to say kaddish for a loved one. Rabbi Me’irah will be leading services at Brandeis on January 20. On the 27th I have invited friends from Santa Cruz, the East Bay and San Francisco to Friday night services because I want them to feel the magic of the Or Shalom community.  And on Saturday the 28th, come to Shabbat morning services and support and celebrate our new Torah chanters (leyners) Linda, Robyn, and Miriam. Bring a bag lunch for after services.

Wed, February 8 2023 17 Shevat 5783