Connections, Conversations, and Cards
Last night, Carly and I attended the vigil for Tree of Life synagogue at Kehilath Israel synagogue in Overland Park, KS. It has been reported that over 1,500 people attended. We were waiting in the line of cars waiting to park when we heard the Shofar signaling the start of the vigil. I dropped Carly at the entrance and went on to find a parking spot several blocks away. Once I entered the building, a woman standing behind a table invited me to sign a mini Hamsa card that would be sent to Tree of Life in Pittsburgh.
The same Hamsa (pictured) that was sent to the Kansas City Jewish community following the 2014 shooting at the Jewish Community Center is now being sent to Pittsburgh. I signed two cards - one on behalf of myself, and one on behalf of Broadway Church. It was a very small thing, but I hope it helps the Jewish Community in Pittsburgh to know they are not alone.
Honestly, writing on a card felt too small. In the face of so much disagreement and hatred in the world, how can it help to write a message on a card and put it in the mail?
If I know anything, it is that fear and isolation feed each other, amplifying anger and hate. More and more, medical professionals are studying the adverse effects isolation and loneliness have on our health, proving our need for connection. Heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Arthritis, and Alzheimer's Disease have all been linked to loneliness. In the political and social realms of this country, we are seeing the effects of isolation. If we don't have a direct experience with someone who is different from ourselves, it is only natural to believe what we am told about people who are different from us.
So what's the solution? Real life connections and conversations. Sometimes a card, text, phone call, smile, or hug can break isolation for someone we love. It may feel small to us, and it could make a big impact for someone else. What stops you from letting your loved ones know how loved they are?
We, as a congregation, can be role models in our city, demonstrating what it means to be in loving connection. Whether we are recovering from tragedy or preventing it, connection is the best medicine we have.