Rabbi Joshua Lesser
The Covid-19 pandemic has created real fears for the Jewish community. And for so many of us, this is about our survival – as institutions, as communities, as a people. Yet, it is precisely when our survival is at stake and our mettle is tested that Jewish creativity expands and that joy, creativity, and unity are indeed possible.
Rabbi Joshua Lesser (RRC ‘99) has had a front seat to one of the most joyful spots of our tragic time. With a group of Jewish leaders from different movements and perspectives, he helped create a Facebook group called “Dreaming Up High Holy Days 2020”.
Asked about the project, Rabbi Lesser says, “People ask me how I can so hopeful about the Jewish future. I am hopeful because I am Reconstructionist and I was trained that hope is not something you have, but something you create. Believing that Jewish life evolves as a part of survival, I am grateful that our perspective empowers us to envision the future and to be part of the change, not just a passive recipient. If people like Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan are your models, when there is an opportunity for creating something that supports the greater good, you seize it. That’s what I did in creating this forum for all Jewish leaders to envision High Holy Days in a pandemic. The communal participation is what is truly hopeful.”
He writes about the project and its rich and creative outcomes in a September 8 piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.