ACC Member Conversation: Ki Tisa Teaches Us Anxiety and Fear is Not New, But We are Here to Help
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Meeting ID: 452 376 055
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Meeting ID: 452 376 055
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This session will be recorded for those of our members who are unable to join the program live. The recording will be posted in Yammer.
If you’re like me you’re inundated with emails from the organizations to which you belong, government entities, schools, insurance companies, the URJ and ACC, all with warnings of how to protect yourself – and others around you – from the COVID- 19 strain of coronavirus. I can say for certain that my anxiety level continues to rise with each passing day as the count of people with the virus rises, and events are cancelled. At a meeting at Starbucks today, I was keenly aware of people elbow-bump greeting each other, holding coffee cups with napkins and opening doors without using their hands. I was even aware of every time I touched my face! The anxiety level of congregants and staff is palpable. Conversations that I’ve had with members of my congregation, upcoming B’nai Mitzvah families and staff members clearly demonstrate a fear of the unknown.
I wonder if it might have felt this way back at the foot of Mt. Sinai when the Israelites waited and waited for Moses to come down from the top of the mountain, perhaps thinking he might never come down. The building of the golden calf is the Israelites searching for control while terrified of the unknown, of being abandoned, or even of being alone. The former slaves were thousands of individuals who hadn’t yet gelled into one community feeling their common destiny or the ability to lean on one another in distress. Slavery was not far in their rearview mirror and although Moses had been given the instructions for building the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary in the desert, it had not yet been built. The Israelites were stuck in a wilderness with a lot of unanswered questions and very few resources. We’ve since learned that the Israelites needed the desert to wander so that they could become a community, a people who could support one another and ultimately build a permanent gathering place.
And now some might say we’re back in the wilderness, searching for answers to calm our fears and anxiety over the coronavirus. Yet, one difference is that we have a community; we have a support system. While we may still feel our vulnerabilities, these are, in fact, common human experiences that are at the core of our emotions and feelings. Being vulnerable, some say means embracing life to the fullest: the opposite of weakness. Out of this sense of fear and trepidation though, can come resilience and strength. As the Israelites became a people, we became stronger, determined, optimistic. This resiliency, which we all have, turns fear into courage and worry into hope.
Let us remember that we – members of the ACC – are a caring community who can lean on each other for support in this time of anxiety. If we have to hunker down to stop the transmission of the virus, than we do it. Services may ultimately be cancelled; events postponed. But Shabbat will be here again in 7 days; there will be another class, another holiday meal, another b’racha to chant. In the meantime, know that we are all in this together, waiting for Moses to come down the mountain, because he surely will.
The ACC Kehillah Quick Connect warm line is here for you if you need a listening ear. We provide confidential, compassionate support: colleague to colleague. Call anytime: 877-833-9933.
In addition, we are scheduling a zoom call for any member who wishes to share what their congregation is doing in the wake of the virus. More information will follow about this.
Kehillah Quick Connect Warm Line