Good Morning Westwood Kehilla Family!
I’ve been thinking about heroes and heroines.
We don’t need Marvel or DC Comics to tickle our imaginations. We no longer have superstars performing feats of fantastic athleticism. Yet, life today is replete with heroes.
When I think about heroism, one of the first images that come to mind is photos of the first responders headed towers the towers on 9/11 while everyone else was running away from the horror and madness.
Covid-19 offers us a different brand of hero. A man or a woman in a white lab coat. A nurse wearing scrubs. A respiratory therapist casually saving lives. The men and women on the front lines of this war.
Perhaps you have seen the short clip of people standing on their porches, clapping and cheering for the doctors at what seems to be a shift change at one of the Israeli hospitals.
Then there are the patients. A friend sent me a short clip of Eli Beer [head of United Hatzalah] who is in an ICU in Florida and was about to go on a respirator. He pled with people to continue to support his organization and do the chesed they regularly do. This is what was on his mind as he contemplated intubation. There are doctors and community leaders who have spent every waking moment bringing awareness to their communities. Heroes and heroines saving lives.
And much closer to home. People who live alone who still greet each day with a smile. People who think about others, people who pick up their phone to call in and check in on others. Teachers and Morahs taking the time to inspire their students. Moms and Dads juggling challenges to ensure the security and safety of their children. Single parents who have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Children and teens whose routine is awry and sense of normalcy need to be rewritten.
We don’t need to look past our front doors to identify heroes and heroines. All we really have to do is look in the mirror. When you look in the mirror and you see a self who is optimistic, who is praying for other people, who is caring and sensitive to others’ needs, who is going with the flow; when you see yourself, you see a hero.
We are a community of people living beyond ourselves. We are looking hard for ways to pierce the isolation and help each other in any way that we can. We are looking at people in the community with health challenges or who are elderly, who cannot take advantage of even the leniency of essential services. People who cannot go to the grocery store or run errands. And we are here for them. We are their support network so that their isolation is not debilitating.
We are a community of heroes.
Keep up the good work.
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Rabbi Avi Stewart
Rav of the Westwood Kehilla.