Q: What do the phone number for a local queer carpenter, bunnies, a camping tent, and prescription meds at CVS all have in common?
A: These are all things you can access by emailing the Kol Tzedek community.
For hundreds of us, KT has been a lifeline, a source of tremendous interdependence and mutual aid. A recent search of my email revealed an amazingly long list of things we have asked of and offered to each other, with an almost instantaneous response. Meal trains, groceries, concert tickets, rideshares, sublets, legal advice, doctor referrals, childcare, protests meet-ups, pet-sitters, kittens. The list is entirely endless and endlessly varied.
At times it feels that KTdiscuss is in fact a chut shel hesed - one long email thread of kindness tethering us together through months of isolation.
Last week a friend was visiting and she initiated a little game called hello, goodbye, come-along. A few of us sat around and reflected on the past year and the year to come. What do we want to say hello to? What do we want to say goodbye to? And what do we want to come-along with us?
There is no question that I want the spirit of care and generosity that has defined us a community throughout the pandemic to come-along into the year to come.
This past Kol Nidre I taught a midrash which wonders:
How did Moses go from fleeing from Pharaoh to plunging him into the sea?
For which the midrash offers two answers.
אֶלָּא רָאָה עוֹלָם חָדָשׁ
First, that he could envision a new world. An olam hadash. A world renewed.
Now the midrash offers a second answer, which this year has taught me is in no way secondary.
That he fed and sustained others. Zan um'farnes. Moses materially and spiritually sustained the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years.
The mere subject lines of KTdiscuss are proof that we too have materially and spiritually sustained each other. We have recalled the kindness of our ancestors (חַסְדֵי אָבוֹת) and allowed it to inspire generations of generosity. May this continue to be our legacy as a community and as a people.
Tonight at Kabbalat Shabbat we will take special care to honor many leaders of Kol Tzedek who have helped to sustain this community daily, weekly and all year long. And we will honor the health care professionals among us who have sustained others spiritually and physically throughout this pandemic. You are each heroes.
May this summer be full of connection and rejuvenation, and may you have a moment to consider what you want to say hello, goodbye, and come-along to!
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Summer!
Rabbi Ari Lev
You can search Rabbi Ari Lev's blog below:
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.