We live in a time of opposites.
Upon seeing a friend approach, instead of drawing near, most of us fall back.
In place of shaking hands and embracing, we do a fist bump or elbow touch.
Meetings via Zoom or FaceTime or telephone take the place of in-person gatherings.
On a personal level, my family was planning to relocate to Lake Charles for me to become the first resident rabbi for Temple Sinai in 22 years.
We had our home totally packed the day before Hurricane Laura approached.
We suddenly postponed loading the moving van.
The home we had recently purchased in Lake Charles was damaged by Laura and then again by Delta.
Our move was in response to the continued urging of our synagogue in Lake Charles, to which I had been commuting for 10 years. Our membership really wanted us to become their Resident Rabbi family. We had finally made the decision this spring.
l believe my family and I are somehow personifying this time of opposites.
We are moving from a condo into a new home once it is fully restored.
I am transitioning in my late 70s from part-time to full-time work.
We are leaving a beautiful city that is quite well put together to a very strong city that has been devastated.
Still, I am confident that somehow this new turn in our family’s life represents so much of what our precious Louisiana, America and the world are experiencing as well.
This is surely a time of renewal and hope for all amid overwhelming challenges.
It might well be that most of us will be having a virtual Thanksgiving, digitally close but not in person.
Nonetheless, I believe with all my heart that we are rediscovering the deep value of personal relationships and friendships.
Even more, I believe with all my heart that as we reach out to one another over the internet or telephone, this most difficult time of our lives can become the source of even deeper Thanksgiving.
I have tried in these months of isolation to take pen in hand and write a letter on paper or on a card, the old-fashioned way, find an envelope and a stamp and slip my note in the mail. In this way the recipient has time to read my words and hopefully to hold on to the letter for a few moments and know that with it come my love and concern.
The older I become I believe that what happens in life often has a deeper meeting then we first discern.
Maybe, just maybe, this pandemic with storms both physical and mental, can remind us in this time of opposites that the little things are really the largest: empathy, sensitivity, compassion and most of all love.
So my Thanksgiving prayer for all of us is to reach out to one another in this time of opposites with even greater empathy and love for one another as together we give thanks for the continuing gifts of life, love and with help from the Source of Goodness the blessings of healing, repair, and restoration.
Happy Thanksgiving 2020!
— Weinstein lives in Baton Rouge