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Rabbi Stiefel's Monthly Article

Rabbi Sharon Stiefel

January 2021


Tea Time


What does support look like for you right now?

This is a good question to ask anyone who is facing difficult times. All of us are being challenged by the isolation the pandemic is necessitating. While there is hope in sight with the first vaccinations currently being administered, we still have many months ahead of us before we will again be able to safely be with one another in person. During these isolating times we need reasons to crawl out of bed. Luckily, Mayim Rabim offers many.

Mayim Rabim has provided and will continue to offer multiple ways for us to connect to one another: Zoom services, classes and the book group. Socially distant High Holiday, Sukkot and Hanukkah in person greetings and treats. Phone conversations from one congregant to another.

Recently we’ve added one more way to bond: Tea Time. Interacting with each other --- even over Zoom --- helps us feel less alone in these unsettling times. I’m inspired by this quote by Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt:

However much we are affected by the things of the world, however deeply they may stir and stimulate us, they become human for us only when we can discuss them with our fellows.… We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it, and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human.

By interacting with each other over Zoom we can ease the burden of the physical distance we must maintain. I am also hoping that we will get to know one another better. While Tea Time is very casual, I pose a general question each time that helps us connect more deeply. For example, at one recent Tea Time I asked, “Tell us one thing nobody knows about you?” I learned things about those present that often do not come up in our casual conversations. We are all enriched by getting to know one another better. While we will not necessarily spend the whole time answering the question presented, it gives us a structure that will allow everyone to share.

Don’t like tea? No worries. Coffee or your favorite beverage are welcome! When is Tea Time? We’re trying a variety of days and times. Our next one will take place on Sunday, January 3 at 4 pm. Look for the Zoom link in an email.  It may just be the support you need right now. Or the support you can offer to another.