In the weeks since the world turned upside-down, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple community has come together in ways no one could have imagined. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyone’s routine, as the weeks have worn on we have all found ways to respond. The stories in this month’s Bulletin begin to paint a picture of how the Temple, its schools, camps, community social service center, and congregation have adjusted to the new normal. Difficult and challenging as this is, the value of community and the concept of helping one another have rarely, if ever, been more evident. 

In times of isolation, there is simple joy in conversation. On a recent Friday night, with nowhere to go, more than 50 women got together online. Hosted by Rabbi Nanus and Cantor Peicott, the evening was an opportunity to speak and listen, to express feelings, and to hear that we are not alone. There was laughter and there were tears. 

Temple life is about the cycle of life. Babies are born. Sons and daughters become bar and bat mitzvah. People die. The passing of some is unrelated to the pandemic. But the impact of the pandemic on all of these life-cycle events is evident. Yet, as we have for thousands of years, we honor our families, our traditions, and our Jewish values. Whether with joy or sadness, there is comfort in seeing a familiar face and hearing a familiar voice. Rabbi Leder has spoken and written often about being present for people in difficult times. Don’t ask what you can do, just be there. Write the note. Attend the shivah. Make the call. 

Passover presented a unique opportunity and challenge. Creativity and imagination were revealed in the many ways our congregation and Jews around the world celebrated this most widely observed Jewish holiday on the calendar. This year, current parallels to the story of our ancestors deepened the meaning and significance of the holiday. 

While so many of us have been sheltered at home, a small team at the Karsh Family Social Service Center continues to serve the community and inspire us through their actions. The Karsh Center was established to provide access to vital services in response to the needs of our neighbors. By necessity, some of these services have been curtailed; however, the Center perseveres and is still providing food, diapers, and connections to essential services. 

Pictures and words in this issue, and in the months ahead, will continue to tell our story. There are many more stories to hear and share. Please feel free to tell us yours as we chronicle this unique time. You can write to us at editor@wbtla.org