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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 10/30/2020

Like many of you, I have been anticipating the November 3 election with a powerful mix of emotions. Hope and dread combine in differing amounts depending on the hour. 

Therefore, I received with great appreciation some helpful advice about how to approach election night. This guidance is provided by Rabbi Jordan Bendat Appell, a staff member of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. His advice offers a spiritual framework for preparing and experiencing November 3. My hope is that some or all of his guidance will help you as well. The following is adapted from his teaching:

For election night, “set an intention. Before turning on coverage, pause and formulate a guiding vision for how you hope to receive and hold whatever happens and whatever you experience. Please note, this intention is not an opportunity to remind yourself of your desired outcome-- you know this already!

Don’t Hide/ Be Brave: To quote the title of Alan Lew’s (z’l) book, This Is Real and We are Completely Unprepared--we cannot and will not be ready for what will occur. This not- being-readiness could easily translate into a deep desire to hide from the difficulty and fear of this moment.” We need to “summon the courage to face whatever arises-- internally and externally.

Be Gentle: When it requires courage, as this moment does, it behooves us to be gentle towards ourselves. Take breaks while you watch the coverage on election night. Drink or eat something delicious, bringing mindful, sweet attention to the experience of eating and drinking.

Try to carve out extra time after the election to do the things that ‘fill your bucket’-- be outside, speak with loved ones, exercise.

Pay Attention to Motivations and Intentions: Of course, it is essential that we are all as informed as possible. However, does watching returns until 3AM serve us? Maybe! It is essential that we each pay close, honest attention to what drives what we do and the choices we make. Hopefully, this insight will help guide towards an appropriate, healthy balance of us of being informed, and feeling connected-- but not overcome and controlled by the firehose of information and opinions.

Feel the feels: Relate to whatever arises as Torah, pointing towards essential truths of this human life. While you don’t necessarily need to act on each feeling, welcome everything in.”

Please remember that on the night following the election, we will have an opportunity to gather as a congregation on Zoom. On Wednesday night at 7:30pm, we will share and reflect in a supportive, positive manner.


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