There’s the joke that says: the nations of Earth learn that in two weeks a meteor shower will strike the planet. The consequence would be devastating, the ice caps would melt and the land would be covered in water. Humans were doomed to all be drowned.
The Pope makes a speech urging people to make their peace with God and their fellow humans. The great Imams tell crowds of Muslims to surrender to God’s Will. Evangelical ministers urge everyone to be born again. Each faith’s leaders try to prepare their people for the end. But the head Rabbi of Israel announces, “My people, we have two weeks to learn how to breath under water.”
You’ll always get a chuckle and a knowing nod from a Jewish crowd with that one. We are not the only refugees, but we have a lot of experience with that status.
When the Bay Area got tossed into Shelter In Place and houses of worship were closed there was an additional reason that Jews didn’t get too anxious. We have had a portable tradition since the Temple fell in 70 CE. With a minyan (a group of ten) you can do anything needed for a Jewish prayer service. The majority of synagogues begin using Zoom or other platforms or their Facebook page to stream services to their members and anyone else who wanted to tune in. In fact, a number of shuls have told me that attendance has greatly increased during Covid 19! I suspect that many people feel isolated and want to connect.
Just so you know: The traditional branch of Judaism – Orthodoxy – may not use electricity on Shabbat. The Orthodox, therefore, cannot stream services. However, they are quite resourceful too. Some are holding teaching sessions on Thursday evening online while providing everything needed for members to observe Shabbat at home with their families.
Previously I had a modest page of synagogue online services, but I have beefed it up. You can look at options here.
Please do ‘attend’ services if you are feeling isolated or would like to pray. You may not belong to the shul you decide to ‘visit’ but luckily no one will see you, you can just tag along. Send me an email and tell me how you are enjoying online Jewish events of any kind. Or other types of events too! What’s working to keep you feeling a part of the world?