We Shall Prevail!

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We are living in a strange moment.
Nothing we have ever experienced before.
Some of us have seen war.
And pressed hard on the muddy floors of foxholes…
Some of us have faced illness.
And watched the drip of IVs restore life in our veins…
Some of us have lost our life savings.
And wondered if just enough will still be enough
To live our lives…
All of us have lost loved ones.
And felt the finality of death sting our souls.

But now we are in an unprecedented moment.
Not some of us, but all of us.
Not a recitation, a Passover plague,
Or a lesson about a 14th century catastrophe,
With the Angel of Death leading rats
Through the streets of dying medieval cities.
We are not in the Philadelphia of the Yellow Fever.
Or the pandemic of 1918 during the First World War,
Which viciously cut down young lives like a silent machine gun,
With bullets forged from bacteria.
We are living in a strange, unprecedented moment,
Unfortified by Olympian fortresses of modern science,
Which has yet to create a synthetic shield to a microscopic virus
That penetrates all human armor.
We are living a moment of growing, personal isolation
Increasingly instructed to self-isolate,
To withdraw from society and sports and entertainment
And even simple, familiar acts of faith.
No one is saying it out loud but the message is clear:
“You must be strong alone,
You need to be disciplined and smart,
And cautious and vigilant.”
Tradition teaches to live with a pure heart,
Science says to live with clean hands.
Now is the time to collect our inner selves
And to be strong alone
Until the time comes again
When we can be strong together.
Until then
Until that day
Let us resolve that we shall prevail.

 Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, PhD
March 13, 2020

Rabbi Lance J. Sussman Ph.D., is the senior rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA, and the Chair-Elect of the Board of Governors of Gratz College. A historian of the American Jewish experience, Sussman has taught at Princeton, Binghamton University (SUNY), and Hunter College.


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My Prayers are sent your way!

Fr. Med Laz

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