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Israeli Poems

Pandemic Poetry

For Our Community at a Time of Crisis
by Rabbi Sheldon Marder

May there be healing and blessing
for us and all people throughout the world
who live now under the shadows of illness, anxiety, and isolation.   

May hope turn our fear to faith
and show us a way to peace of mind,
wholeness within, and strength from community.

May those who care for the sick
with their hands, their voices, and their hearts
be blessed with courage and stamina.

May those who pursue healing
through medical skill and knowledge
be blessed with insight, patience, and compassion.

Let us — the caregivers and hope-givers —
shine the soft light of human kindness in dark places.

May all of us —
the sick and the well together—
know and feel the blessing of ancient times:
“Chazak ve-ematz—Be strong and of good courage.”  (Joshua 1:6,7,9)

by Lynn Ungar

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Thu, April 9 2020 15 Nisan 5780