What’s next after we count the Omer? Pay the bills and schedule another virtual Shabbat!

By Betsy Frank

Betsy Frank is UHC para-rabbinic fellow and president.

Some Jews count the Omer. I sometimes do, but I am also counting weeks of self-isolation.

We have just concluded 49 days of counting, which began April 9 and ended May 28 (between the second night of Passover and the Shavuot holiday).

I could say, “Where does the time go?” But time does seem to pass a bit more slowly these days.

Our regular routines are disrupted. If we normally employ a cleaning person, that person isn’t coming. Book clubs may meet via Zoom or may not meet at all.

Regular breakfast and lunch gatherings have gone by the wayside. We need haircuts and who knows what else. (As an aside, if you have the funds, please pay the people you regularly see, including your hairdresser and your house cleaner).

Shabbat attendance is on the upswing

Still, technology has allowed our congregation to remain active. We hold weekly services, engage in Torah study with our student rabbi and hold virtual board meetings.

We even held a virtual Seder, and we’re working on a morning minyan.

As a matter fact, since we began sheltering in place, our Shabbat attendance has actually grown!

Families and friends from across the country have joined us for services from as far away as Washington State and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Families and friends from across the country have joined us from as far away as Washington State and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The family of Student Rabbi Remy Liverman, who live in Canada and and around the U.S., have been able to see her lead services.

In addition, some congregants who are prevented by physical limitations from attending Shabbat at the Temple may now join our liturgies via Zoom.

(For those who are wondering, the board is discussing plans for our annual meeting, which last year took place June 9. We’ll either set a date for later in the summer at the Temple or will schedule a virtual Zoom meeting).

Self-isolation does not have to mean disengaging from the congregation. Join us when we gather each Friday evening. If you are not on our email list, please send me a note and I will add you.

Thanks to our helpers

I realize that during these strange times, Zoom meetings are not our only priority. We still must pay the bills!

I would like to extend a huge thanks to Bruce Black, our treasurer, for taking care of that task. Another huge thanks goes to secretary Norma Collins, who visits the office several times a week and also calls congregants to check on their well-being.

Finally, thanks to Debra Israel and family for cleaning up trash on our property. Trash seems to gather on the site, whether or not we are there.

Until we meet again, stay well and keep in touch!


Betsy Frank

Featured image of ripe barley by USDA / CC BY

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