Jewish resilience in hard times

(Image: Beth Am in springtime)

Shortly after Governor Newsom shut down California in March I received a beautiful note from one of “my” folks. I asked for her permission to share it. She gave me permission but in the pandemic, racial upheaval and fires I forgot. I came across it today. I wish that it were no longer appropriate, but it is. So I’m sharing.


Hi Dawn,

Thank you for your email and your continued work sharing and connecting us all to resources. I wanted to share a refrain from an in-person exercise group I am part of as we transitioned this past week to online workouts, “community cannot be cancelled!” Our interfaith and Jewish communities can indeed continue on.

Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills has also launched streaming services and virtual gatherings. This description (I made bold) on their “Virtual Beth Am” website really struck me:

We are fortunate to inherit a tradition of great resilience in challenging times — one that respects the insights of science and scholarship, mandates self-preservation as well as compassionate concern for others, and focuses us on the practical good we can do here and now. Be assured that the Beth Am community will stand together during this crisis, and that together we will come through it.”

I am Christian and married to a Jewish man. While Christians have and are persecuted, that has never been my experience; I, like most American Christians, have not had to exercise resilience like the Jewish people. Framing this pandemic as an opportunity to practice mitzvot of rest, care, and compassion has been very powerful for me.

Hope you are staying safe, connected, and healthy!


Take this cue from Sarah and Beth Am and try to reframe our current predicament as an opportunity. In addition to rest, care, and compassion, I would like to add Tzedek, tzedek tirdof (Justice, justice shall you pursue). As racial injustice tears the fabric of our country take 15 minutes a day to find a way to repair our community.
It’s a mitzvah!

Posted in General
Published on August 26th, 2020