I want to talk to you about healing. It was exactly a year ago this week when many of us began to register that the pandemic was going to upend our lives.
In March of 2020, I agonized over getting on a plane to officiate a long-planned wedding in Chicago (the daughter of one of my dearest childhood friends) because of the potential danger to my immunocompromised self.
The wedding was ultimately canceled as guest after guest phoned that they wouldn’t be able to fly as the risks became apparent. That anticipated trip had also included a visit to my beloved mom, who had begun her decline and had just entered hospice.
I am certain that each one of you has your own list of get-togethers and celebrations you postponed this past year.
What we could not know back then was the profound losses our world would suffer – and are still unfolding.
On this one-year anniversary, there is some hope in the air. It feels like we can begin to imagine what it might look like as we emerge from lockdown as vaccines become more available.
Some of us cannot wait to get back into groups, and others may have discovered a new contentedness with our aloneness.
I am convinced that healing is an essential component of whatever unfolds next.
What does the healing process look like, from what we’ve experienced?
What I know for sure is that the first step in healing is always about acknowledging the truth of our experiences.
It will take time and patience. It includes also seeing the blessings of the past year – the new parts of ourselves we may have discovered, relationships we have rekindled.
What will be birthed from this last year? What can we imagine creating?
There’s another area of healing that is on my mind. The pandemic has not been the only tragedy and suffering in our world, and for us here in the United States, it has been heartbreaking.
Over the past four years, our world has seen the largest refugee crisis of all time. The United States, which had been a beacon of light to immigrants and asylum seekers around the world, virtually shut its doors.
It will be years and years before we can heal the soul of our country from the images of children ripped from their parents’ arms, people with mylar blankets sleeping on concrete floors for the “crime” of seeking a better life.
To those of us with immigrant stories and those for whom the biblical commandment to “love, welcome, and house the stranger” is core, this has been gut-wrenching.
What does healing look like? This is also a long process. We have to re-envision our nation, the wealthiest in the world, as a place of kindness and welcome. We have to investigate the wrongdoing, hold thos
e accountable who have perpetrated crimes against humanity
This weekend is National Refugee Shabbat.
HIAS, an incredible organization that I am proud to be connected to, has aided refugees and asylum seekers around the world, has encouraged communities around the world to make this Shabbat a focus on refugees.
I hope you will join me at the national events listed below or your own local community ones.
This will be part of the healing that we need to do.
Blessings to you —
– Rabbi Jill
PS – If you haven’t yet downloaded my latest free ebook on Healing, you can get it here. There is a beautiful blessing/prayer for our country by Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, and a blessing to say when you receive your vaccine by Rabbi Marci Bloch!