“Spread over us the shelter of your peace…
Shield us and remove from us every enemy, plague, sword, famine and sorrow…”
– Hashiveinu Prayer, from Sabbath Liturgy
As Shabbat approaches, we acknowledge that the continued days and weeks at home remain a challenge. And yet we know that we are each playing our part in defeating the spread of this virus. Whether we are able to be at home, or needing to work outside in an essential job or as a First Responder, we all have an important role to play. But hopefully, if you are engaged in work, you can take some time for rest—for the body and for the spirit. Our Jewish tradition provides that opportunity to step back and to offer ourselves some much-needed perspective: the Shabbat (Sabbath).
Here at the Jewish Federation, our staff remain busy and committed to doing what we can to make sure the community knows that you are not alone during this crisis. As we speak, hot meals are being delivered daily to those at home and isolated, many of whom are alone and vulnerable.
Just this past week, we delivered close to 100 hot meals, including a number of those to Hospice patients and their families. Shabbat bags with homemade challot and baked goods, courtesy of our wonderful baker-in-residence, Doug Weinstein, were also distributed. In addition, today we are bringing hot gourmet pizzas and Chef Doug's rugelach and macaroons to the downtown Santa Barbara Police Department’s staff of 30, who do so much for our Federation and the community.
Our Jewish Family Service professional clinicians have a full caseload and have transitioned completely to tele-therapy, so that everyone has access to help when they need it. And our Caring Visitors are actively engaged with their clients as well, so that they never feel alone. Please know that we are here, and will continue to be here for you.
The Hashkiveinu prayer quoted above is one of the most beautiful, personal and comforting in the Shabbat liturgy.
I will close with an offering of a moving rendition on YouTube from Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC—a prayer for us all.
Wishing you a Shabbat in which you find some personal peace,
Ruth Steinberg, LCSW
Director, Jewish Family Service