Time for Re-creation
Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Schweber, November 2, 2012 / 17 Cheshvan 5773
Time for Re-Creation
I am a New York City person, the son of New York City people. As a city person, I also grew up a transportation buff. As a child I used subway maps for imaginary play, using Matchbox cars to run the train routes. I have maintained my love of transportation and of course a love of the New York City area, my home. I expect many of you join me in this connection to the area. This past week, much of what we love was severely damaged. Lower Manhattan, the navel of this great metropolitan area, was especially hit.
Metaphorically, the region suffered a heart attack, with some of its major transportation arteries clogged—or in this case flooded. It will take some bypass surgery and lots of rehabilitation to get this network working properly again.
As a rabbi I often find myself looking at the world and world events through the eyes of Jewish texts. The chaos brought on by Hurricane Sandy made me think about the Creation texts, especially Genesis chapter 1 and Psalm 104. Both texts see God’s acts of creation as bringing order to chaos. Before God created, the universe was null and void and chaotic. God brought order to the universe, including putting water where it should go and stopping it from going where it shouldn’t. Psalm 104 even mentions how going out to daily labor is part of this order over chaos.
“At your call they (the initial chaotic waters) fled, rushing away at the sound of Your thunder, (the waters) climbing mountains and pouring into the valleys, the place You established for them (the waters). You set the bounds, they may not cross… You bring on darkness and it is night when all the beasts of the forest stir…When the sun rises they steal away…then people go out to their work, to labor until evening.” (Psalm 104)
This week, the chaos returned. The waters broke their bounds, darkness continues for many and people could not get to their labor. It is now time for us as God’s partners to enact a re-creation. We need to bind together to set new bounds for the water and adjust to our new realities of higher seas. Jewish texts give inspiration and hope. Every day in the morning service we recite “God, in God’s goodness, renews Creation day after day.” Each day is a chance and opportunity to bring order and harmony to the chaos.
It is certain that subway map will have to change for at least a while. Getting to work for some of us will be hard for a while. But we will create a new normal with less chaos than now. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those most affected by the storm, to those who lost loved ones, property and dreams.
Donations and Volunteer Opportunities – Monetary contributions are being collected by many agencies to help with the relief effort. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has set up a fund – http://www.razoo.com/story/Uscj-Disaster-Relief-Fund as has the UJA Federation of New York – https://www.ujafedny.org/hurricane-sandy-relief-fund/
The UJA Federation is also putting together a list of volunteer opportunities in hard areas such as Rockaway, Queens. http://www.ujafedny.org/hurricane-sandy-volunteer-opportunities/
Brittlyn Pearlman, daughter of Sharon and Ken Pearlman has graciously offered to coordinate the collection of supplies to donate at the synagogue. She is presently working on getting an exact list. Once she has a list we will communicate it to you and start a collection box at the synagogue.
Shabbat Dinner and Saturday Kiddush at Synagogue – If you are without power, and if even if you have power, join us this evening at 6pm for a ruach (spirited) Shabbat service followed by a warm dinner prepared by Meryl and the Kiddush Krew. All we ask if that you RSVP to Melanie – Melanie@shaareitikvah.org by 1pm so we have enough food.
On Saturday morning, the synagogue will be warm and we will serve a Kiddush sponsored by Randy and Anita Borkenstein.
Rabbi Daniel Schweber