Pondering my situation

In the early 1940s my late husband and his family, eventual Holocaust survivors, were incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto for 11 months. They escaped and were then hidden in a straw-lined hole under a Polish farmer’s barn, two miles from the Nazi death camp Treblinka. Twelve-year-old Jerry, his 8-year-old brother and their parents, did not see daylight until liberated from the underground bunker by Russian soldiers 22 months later. Their daily entertainment consisted of sketching on a notepad, playing chess with pieces made from precious bread scraps, squashing lice and bedbugs, and hoping and waiting for a once-daily delivery of broth and bread.

Because of the coronavirus, my usually bustling tour business is now at zero. But I am so thankful to still be able to take a walk each day at Queeny or Forest Park to admire the spring-blooming trees and daffodils. I can stop at the store for food and essentials, feel safe in my house and neighborhood and have nutritious meals. Additionally, I can enjoy my telephone, internet, TV, daily mail and newspaper delivery, and my cat.

During this current crisis, I thank you government officials for doing your best to protect me from the virus; store clerks for tending to my physical needs; and medical personnel for putting your lives on the line every day. 

Linda Koenig, Chesterfield

 


 

 

Letter to the community from Jewish clergy group

As rabbis and cantors of the St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association, we are reaching out as one to the members of our community during this unprecedented time. Our hearts go out to those members of our community who are ill, and those who are afraid. We ache for those who have had to reschedule simchas, and for those who are mourning without the support of loved ones around them. We share the uncertainty and concerns about the financial impact of this pandemic on the economically vulnerable members of our community. We are profoundly grateful for those who are providing comfort, and those who are on the frontlines in hospitals, doctors’ offices, patrolling our neighborhoods and serving the essential needs of our community.

We know that there are aspects of this sickness that are out of our hands. But we also know, both from history found even in the Torah and from examples around the world today, that there is a way to halt the spread of this virus. So, we are taking it upon ourselves to ask that tonight, when Shabbat ends...that it doesn’t end. That for each of us who is able, we keep this time of rest going. Stay home. Cancel the sleepovers and create virtual playdates. Be with loved ones who live with you and pick up the phone to call those who don’t or send a text or email. Let everything else stop, and as much as possible, let’s keep Shabbat going.

Our tradition teaches us that pikuach nefesh, the saving of a life, is the most important mitzvah we have. And we all have the opportunity to do so, but it only works if we all do it. As your rabbis and cantors, who have sat with you during the most sacred moments of your lives, we implore you to join us in this so we can get through this together.

We’re all in. We fervently hope you will be too.

Members of the St. Louis Rabbinical and Cantorial Association:

Agudas Achim Beth Israel of Belleville:

Rabbi Shulamit Cenker

Bais Abraham:

Rabbi Garth Silberstein

B’nai Amoona:

Rabbi Carnie Rose

Rabbi Josef Davidson

Cantor Sharon Nathanson

Central Reform Congregation:

Rabbi Susan Talve

Rabbi Daniel Bogard

Rabbi Karen Bogard

Rabbi Randy Fleisher

Rabbi James Stone Goodman

Hillel at Washington University :

Rabbi Jordan Gerson

Jewish Community Center:

Rabbi Brad Horwitz

Jewish Community Relations Council:

Maharat Rori Picker Neiss

Jewish Family Services:

Rabbi Neal Rose



Rabbi Jessica Shafrin

Jewish Federation:

Rabbi Tracy Nathan

Keshet:

Rabbi Micah Buck-Yael

Kol Rinah:

Rabbi Noah Arnow

Rabbi Scott Shafrin

Pathways Hospice & Palliative Care:

Rabbi Dale Schreiber

Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School:

Rabbi Scott Slarskey

Shaare Emeth:

Rabbi Jim Bennett

Rabbi Andrea Goldstein

Rabbi Lori Levine

Cantor Seth Warner

Rabbi Jeffrey Stiffman (Emeritus)

Shir Hadash Reconstruc-tionist Community:

Cantor Joshua Finkel

Rabbi Lane Steinger (Emeritus)

Temple Emanuel:

Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

Rabbi Joseph Rosenbloom (Emeritus)

Temple Israel:

Rabbi Amy Feder

Rabbi Michael Alper

Rabbi Mark Shook (Emeritus)

Temple Israel of Springfield, Missouri:

Rabbi Barbara Block

United Hebrew:

Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg

Rabbi Adam Bellows

Cantor-Rabbi Ron Eichaker

Rabbi Howard Kaplansky (Emeritus)