We can all agree that experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic has been a unique, unprecedented, and disconcerting experience. Nearly every aspect of life as we knew has been significantly disrupted. School, work, travel, sports, culture, and faith all have been re-tracked, sidelined or even shut down. It has only been a few months but the disruption to our lives and the life of the planet has been tremendous and, sometimes, devastating. As I write this piece, the total number of COVID deaths in the United States according to Johns Hopkins University is approaching 84,000 people and the total number of confirmed cases is approaching 1.4 million. We have read about historic pandemics including those that impacted Philadelphia but this pandemic is different because it is here, and it is now.
For sure, all of us have questions and all of us have concerns. As a synagogue, we are trying our best to provide virtual opportunities for virtual community, learning and worship. Admittedly, we cannot relieve the psychological pain of near total social isolation or promise that a solution to our problems is just around the corner. However, there are things we can and are doing together. All services are online. Cantor Levy has a virtual support meeting every Friday at 3:00 p.m. I have an open, online “Rabbi Talk” session every Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. There are Adult Ed classes, music programs and day long virtual programming for preschool. For more information, go to the KI website or simply write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I especially want to call your attention to a special program planned for this Sunday night, May 17, at 8:00 PM. It is called, “Clearing the Confusion: A Panel of KI Health Professionals Answering Your Questions about the Pandemic.” The idea of a panel was proposed by Cantor Levy. Included on our panel are five active members of KI who work in the health service field including:
Dr. Tamar Klaiman (our Moderator) who is a Senior Qualitative Research Scientist at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Robert Michaelson, a retired OBGYN doctor and lecturer of Public Health at Arcadia University.
Dr. Aliza Rabinowitz, Associate Division Director and Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Internal Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University , Director, Covid Result Team.
Dr. Alan Reinach, Pulmonary and Critical Care Specialist at Holy Redeemer Hospital.
Dr. Peter Sklar, Infectious Disease Specialist and Researcher.
Go to the KI online Zoom Room on our website or Live on our Facebook page, to access information to participate. You will have the opportunity to not only hear the professional assessments of these doctors and scientists but also ask them your own questions about COVID-19. “Knowledge,” we have been taught, “is power.” All of us need the empowering benefits of increased, reliable information about the great challenge of our times. We cannot solve the problem of COVID alone, but we can help one another deal with the stress of the moment and refine our own practices and procedures at home and elsewhere. We are also considering future programs about COVID for the benefit of our congregation and others.
Meanwhile, as I now say over and over again, be safe, be sane and be humane!
See you online!
Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D.