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We are a community that is used to coming together at kiddish, talking with one another about our days and weeks, sharing updates, new hobbies, successes, stresses and challenges.  We are all adjusting to a new normal as a result of the virus and yet there is no kiddush where we can gather and update one another, where we can find the comfort of connection and community in the same way. 

We invited congregants to participate in a collective, creative project that reflects the many voices in our community — a sort of virtual kiddush.

We shared the prompt “How are you spending your days?” and then asked participants to share one example, one moment, one experience, one thought.  

We then wove the answers into a collective poem by all of us and for all of us.


In Place of Kiddish, a communal poem by and for the members of CSAIR
Edited by Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield and Rachel Mesch

9am coffee and toast with my wife
Suddenly 24/7 companionship
Laughing, snuggling, arguing
Glad to find we like each other!
Work and school screen time
Family dinner
7pm it’s up to you New York, New York
Clapping and shouting for the helpers
Drowning out the sirens

Oh, and cooking!

Sleeping. Reading. 
Playing Bridge. Canasta. Piano. Guitar. Hide and seek.
Walking along the Hudson, Orchard Beach, my community in Florida,
Knitting a preemie blanket on chopsticks,
Telling folktales to my grandchildren.
Digitizing 100 years of family photos,
Finally cleaning out the attic,
Dusting off the karaoke machine,
Family dance parties,
Washing dishes, putting away dishes, getting dishes dirty, 

Loneliness, longing
To see my grandchildren in person.
Emunah Groups,
Praying for those who are ill,
Waving to bus drivers on Broadway,
Leaving notes for the letter carrier,
“You’re welcome,” he responds, “have a nice day.”

The peace, the quiet, everyday is Sunday.
Masking up for
Walks in Van Cortlandt
checking every day for green to break through.
Same time, same way
I watch the sun set behind the lake, throwing off golden sparks of light in front of the mountains beyond.
I laugh, I cry.

Family scattered around the globe,
Trying to connect
Like a 1000 piece puzzle.

Oh, and cooking! 
Cuban beans, Picadillo, hamantaschen, gnocchi, rugelach, and a very buttery chocolate-banana cake
Patisserie Florentine,
Gluten-free challah
Moss Cafe Farm Box,
I set aside food each day to bring to
My father, the food bank, a family in mourning, to freeze for later.

Log in to my laptop...
Zoom Meetings, Zoom classroom, Zoom happy hour, 
Where’s the button? I can’t see you! You’re on mute!
Zoom shabbat; Zoom bar mitzvah; Zoom seder;

Zoom shiva.

Distance learning, distance visiting, six feet apart,
Comforting with my voice, with a smile, with an air hug,
With a promise to give a real hug when I can.

Religiously watching Cuomo,
Texting our state representatives,
Searching for moments of hope and optimism,
Wishing I could do more to help.

Counting the Omer;
Counting days in quarantine;
Counting my blessings.

Oh, and cooking!


Mon, January 18 2021 5 Shevat 5781