Messages from Congregation Leadership

Pesach 5781

This year we are again prevented from enjoying a communal Seder, a most important item in our congregational events calendar. We suffered separation from our loved ones for much too long, isolation, deep anxiety and fear. Some of us have lost a dear friend or family member to this unrelenting plague.

This year’s Pesach Seder, more than any other, concretizes for us the mind set and spiritual condition of our enslaved ancestors, who endured many generations of that painful existence. We are blessed to be able to continue telling the story to our children by reading the Haggadah. The wisdom of our tradition guides us by teaching our children to ask us questions, changing the experience from a monologue to an instructive dialogue. Our explanation maintains the continuity of our narrative and our deep Jewish love of liberty. This is designed to reinforce bonding with our children and make our love of freedom their story as well.

Celebrating the Exodus, means leaving a place of stress as it is understood from the Hebrew word for Egypt, “Mitzrayim”. Mitzrayim is the plural form of ” Meytzar” meaning narrow, constricted or oppressive.

This year by Hashem’s grace, we will have our own exodus from the pandemic, Mitzrayim and leave all the worst behind, slowly easing ourselves back to normalcy.

We send your families all our blessings and love.

Have a kosher, joyful and safe Pesach,

Rabbi Dudai

President’s Message – March 2021

Dear Members of the B’nai Zion Key West Community,

It’s been quite a while since I was able to communicate with you through the President’s Message in our bulletin. Unfortunately, Elyse Spialter has been quite ill and unable to produce the bulletin. We are in the process of having other members learn how to produce the excellent product that Elyse had prepared for so many years. The Board wish her well and a speedy recovery and thank her for her excellent and dedicated work.

When the epidemic was recognized as such a serious threat, we stopped all services sometime around March and the Rabbi begin conducting Friday night zoom services. John Kriences and the Rabbi produced and recorded a high holiday service which was then shared with all the members via Zoom; it was an impressive production. Finally, on October 17 we resumed in person Shabbat services in the garden on Saturday mornings, practicing social distancing, hand sanitization and mask wearing. Several members and I were suffering Zoom fatigue and lack of real life visual contact with friends. In the beginning we barely had a minion, but lately over 30 people have been in regular attendance (but who can count). In addition, Nadia has been preparing‘ kiddushim which we have been enjoying in the front courtyard.

The Board will meet at the beginning of April to decide when sanctuary services will resume. It is starting to get hot and several members have been pressing to move into the cooler environment. At the same time, quite a few members want to stay in the garden. Therefore, I urge you: if you have not come to one of our Saturday morning services in the garden, to please come and experience the beautiful setting. Nadia has created a tropical oasis and services in that setting has been inspirational for me.

That is about all for now,  so let me say, “Sholom” until you hear from me again.

Fred Covan