A letter from our President, Bob Spaulding 4/19/2020

Dear friends,

Biologists who have focused their research on the human species often describe our evolution from one of two perspectives. The first, survival of the fittest, is where some individual trait such as strength or speed or intelligence results in superiority and hence an improved chance of survival. The counter theory is that humanity's survival and best chance to continue to do so is through unity. Survival of the fittest conjures up an image of a world with constant competition, where one must always be seeking the advantage. Conversely, the concerted power of the whole of a community transcends individual competition.

I find that our current situation regarding COVID-19 to be embroiled in these contradictory biological and sociological viewpoints. In order to limit the damage that might be imposed by the coronavirus, we are being asked to not gather, to forego community, to be anti-social. Protect the individual at the expense of community. Yet the erosion of community can adversely affect the individual. Does looking out for the individual ultimately ensure the survival of the community? The dilemma feels unsettling. It's a catch-22 or, to put it in terms of Fortran programming, an open logic do loop.

So we are engaging with each other as best we can using internet technology to dodge the constraints of social distancing. And unfortunately, we are now caught up in an ever-increasing debate between scientific, economic and political frames of reference that only emphasize our collective uncertainties as to what will work and what won't regarding the long-term outcome. Of course, there is no clear answer on the immediate horizon. Things are not black and white; they are many shades of gray. It is what it is and time will be the ultimate judge. But from the perspective of our synagogue, the importance of community holds our attention.

As you read this, we will have had our inaugural Sunday morning (4/19) minyan service. And by popular request, we will continue with Monday and Thursday morning services commencing at 9:00 am. If you haven't received an email with the Zoom links for this week by now, please let Rachel or me know.

Coffee & Learn with Rabbi Wainhaus via Zoom is coming in the next week or two. Please stay tuned as we announce the details and get the Zoom link out to you.

Starting on Monday, 5/4, our building will be completely closed so that we can repair a couple of difficult to access foundation water leaks in the furnace room. The office is adjusting our administration procedures to accommodate this situation. Again, please address any necessary communication to Rachel or Ileane via email or call 203-833-9162.

Updates to the Zoom app aimed at improving security (especially from Zoom-bombing) have been released. You should have received an email from Zoom with the update link by now or you will be asked to update from within the app. Please do so.

Dr. Peter Tippet, an emergency room MD with a PhD in biochemistry, has written a thoughtful explanation of how personal protection from the COVID-19 virus works. He describes how any given defensive step, or steps when used together, lowers the risk of becoming infected. It is a good read and may be found at https://caremesh.com/blog/2020/4/8/saving-your-health-one-mask-at-a-time.

During my 1960s college days, a very common phrase was "keep the faith". It seems to be most apropos right now.

Stay safe and healthy,


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