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Rabbi Stiefel's Monthly Article

Rabbi Sharon Stiefel

Current April 2021


Signs of Spring


With Daylight Savings Time and the expansion of light, I feel the natural world is mirroring the trajectory of increased hope. With more doses of the vaccine being administered, we are given optimism that the pandemic is waning. This year has seen a lot of darkness and been filled with hurt and aching hearts. We have lost loved ones to COVID-19. We have grieved and been torn by the death of George Floyd and are now anxious over the upcoming trial. We have faced isolation and loneliness.


Our path in this year of pandemic and now slowly making our way out of it hopefully mirrors the increasing daylight in our midst.  For us it will not be a sudden turning on of the lights, as in a flick of the switch. Rather it is more like rotating the dial on a dimmer knob, a gradual process of becoming brighter. We cannot take away the loss of lives. We can honor the memories. We can commit to dismantling racism and use our voices, pens, feet and hearts to overcome injustice.  And we can, as Mayim Rabim, continue to come together over Zoom and, when safe, in person.


After a year of pivoting to primarily virtual gatherings, our Mayim Rabim community gives me hope. We have stayed together. We have welcomed new members, supported individuals in need, reached out to those who do not use Zoom and made sure no one falls through the cracks.


Nissan, the name of our current Hebrew month, derives possibly from the Hebrew word nes, or miracle. You might know that word nes from the dreidel and the nes gadol, the great miracle. The month Nissan suggests a link to the Pesach miracles of the Exodus. It might come from the word nitzan, meaning “bud”, pointing to the beginning of spring. It might come from the Akkadian word nissanu, meaning ‘to move’ or ‘to start,’ pointing to the Israelites’ flight from Egypt.


May we move ahead and use the energy of increased light for new growth and renewal.  Just as we sit down at the Seder to recount the story of our people’s resilience in the face of adversity, may we celebrate our own and Mayim Rabim’s continued story of strength in the face of challenging times.