(Let There Be Peace)
Here's How Faith Leaders Thing We Should Get Through Coronavirus
(Rabbi Danielle Upbin's Excerpt from Tampa.Bay.com
“In every generation, we must see ourselves as if we personally came out of Egypt” - From the Passover Haggadah
Rabbi Danielle Upbin
Passover Seder is the most commonly observed Jewish ritual. Period. No other observance comes close to the popularity of Seder. And yet, in all the years that we have asked: “How is this night different from all other nights?”, we never could have imagined just how different Seder 2020 would be. Large gatherings of family and friends sharing the “Feast of Freedom” with cherished recipes and endless conversation simply won’t happen this year — at least not in person. While quarantine will restrict our ability to gather physically, it will not extinguish our spiritual resilience.
The Jewish people have always known how to adapt in times of crisis. This year, through the combination of creativity, technology, and virtual connection, the Seder will still find its meaningful place. Many will still be able to gather, albeit differently, and expound upon the themes of the night. Others will be alone or only with immediate family members. But even when there are no children to ask the “Four Questions”, an adult asks them. The show must go on.
Connecting our lived-experience to the Exodus narrative feels very real this year. Every aspect of the Haggadah can be meaningfully refracted through the lens of the coronavirus: The ten plagues, the symbolic foods, even our songs of gratitude. Just as God heard the prayers of our ancestors and redeemed them from Egyptian toil, this year, we pray that God redeem us from the clutches of the virus, speedily restoring us to the freedom of good health and vigor.
Rabbi Danielle Upbin is the Associate Rabbi, Congregation Beth Shalom, Clearwater
Spirit, Song, and Faith
Rabbi Danielle Upbin aka "Rabbi Dani," is a prayer leader, teacher, inspirational preacher and singer-songwriter. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Originally from New York City, she currently resides in Clearwater, FL, where she and her husband serve as the spiritual leaders of Congregation Beth Shalom.
Chanting Hebrew prayer in a joyous and soulful manner is Rabbi Dani's passion. She has studied meditation, Jewish mysticism, and yoga and strives to interweave uplifting teachings from Judaism into her presentation of chant. She is actively involved in a local interfaith coalition, and is a regular presenter in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Clearwater's monthly gathering called "Festival Ruah: A Multicultural Spirit Experience" along with musicians, dancers, artists and spiritual leaders from around the globe. Rabbi Dani's debut cd is titled Reveal the Light.All songs recorded and mixed by Jay A. Klein. All songs produced by Rabbi Danielle Upbin, Fred Johnson and Jay Klein. Mastered by Robert Rothschild.
Reveal the Light...this recording is an invitation into prayer...
My hope is that as you listen, you will join me in chanting. Lift your voice and draw closer to the Mystery. I am grateful for the many souls who brought this project into fruition: First, to Fred Johnson, his voice and spiritual direction are a gift from the One. Jay Klein, whose knowledge of music and commitment to Spirit drove the production. Reverend Abhi Janamanchi and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Clearwater for your hospitality and friendship; The Institute for Jewish Spirituality; Joyce Liu; Blake Lenett, Lily Lucey, Andi Szmiga and Congregation Beth Shalom of Clearwater; my parents, for their limitless support; and my Yedid Nefesh, David Weizman and our four little lights – you keep me going everyday. The One Spirit/Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu: Gallay K’vod Malchutecha Aleinu B’mheira, May we merit to perceive the unfolding of Your light speedily in our days. Thank You for setting me on this path.
-Rabbi Danielle Upbin