In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Synagogue Project has gone virtual! For the foreseeable future, there will be no in-person NSP services, programs, or meetings. We are continuing to meet and learn and pray together over Zoom (a video conferencing platform). Check the NSP Calendar for a schedule of events.
We are also adding new opportunities to connect, including gathering for blessings before Shabbat dinner, meeting via Google Hangouts during the day, and creating systems to support and care for each other and our larger community.
This is a scary time. Rebbe Nachman is famously quoted as having said:
The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to be afraid.
כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד והעיקר לא לפחד כלל.
Are you kidding me, don’t be afraid? How can we not be afraid during this terrible time? There is a lot to be afraid of. And fear can also be important. It can help us to know that we need to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our larger community.
In fact, this quote isn’t exactly what Rebbe Nachman said. The word he used in Hebrew is Yitpached יִתְפַּחֵד, which is in the reflexive tense and means something like, “to en-fear oneself,” or to get trapped in fear. Our job as a community is to make sure that we don’t get trapped in fear, and to pull one another out when we do. We do this by taking care of one another with empathy and concrete support. We are staying connected to one another and remaining in community to combat the isolation. We are channeling our sadness and anger about the suffering and injustice around us by taking action together.
NSP Mutual Aid. The Chesed committee has created and will be coordinating NSP mutual aid. If you have a skill, resource, or any way you can help out those most impacted by the crisis (within and beyond the NSP community), put it in this spreadsheet! We know some of us are already having a hard time and we want to be there for you. We are envisioning this as a place to catalogue our communal resources as needs surface both from within our community and from our neighbors. The better organized we are, the better we’ll be able to mobilize our collective resources to help those most impacted by this crisis get through it.
DC Mutual Aid. To be part of DMV-wide efforts to support those most impacted (and creating the infrastructure necessary to do so), join the DC Mutual Aid Network facebook group here. A list of mutual aid projects in the DMV can be found here, including opportunities to support folks financially on the Fundraising Pages tab. Contact Lauren Spokane (email@example.com) and Geoff Gilbert (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions about getting involved in the DC Mutual Aid Network.
Ask for Support. When (not if, when) you wish to request support from the community, please fill out this form. You can also always be in touch with Rabbi Joseph for spiritual support (email@example.com) who is available to listen or think through something together that’s going on for you.
Daily Actions for Justice. The Justice Team is sending out Daily Action Alerts with concrete actions you can take for justice in the wider community (in DC and beyond). It may be a petition to sign, a call to make to an elected official to push for just responses to this public health crisis, a fundraiser for mutual aid supplies, or perhaps celebrating a victory that will keep our neighbors safe. To sign up, please fill out the form here. If you have action items to share, please send them to us here.
Resources. NSP members Abby and Dre created this fantastic document with different mutual aid, mental health, and spiritual resources for our community. (If you have something to add, please email Dre & Abby (firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com)
Get involved. We are continuing to meet online, creating new ways to connect, and responding to the Pandemic with what our community and the city needs. Below are some ways to connect and get involved:
We need each other. Right now. In a time of great uncertainty, with rapid change, fear, loss and suffering, we need community to ground us, to ask for help, to take care of each other, to support one another, and to collectively show up for our neighbors and other communities who are hurting and experiencing great injustice. Even though we can’t be together in person, now is the time to lean into community.