IMPORTANT SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM BILL:
IMPORTANT SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM BILL:
I trust that everyone had a great Sukkot and your return trip was a safe and uneventful one. I feel that our Feast of Tabernacles this year was exceptional in many ways and that many people were blessed by the camaraderie, joyful attitudes and Presence of the Almighty. I am thankful to those who made it possible and for all the families who shared this special time with us at Jacob’s Tent.
In light of the celebration we just enjoyed, it is unfortunate that I have to write to you this soon and let you know about some inconvenient news. On our last day in camp, there were a few people who developed symptoms of what is commonly known as hand-foot and mouth disease. While it is pretty common among small children it can affect all ages including adults. The problem with that scenario is that adults may be infected with it and never show any symptoms, however, they are still potentially passing it on to others. Of the known cases within our congregation, the majority of them are teenagers and young adults.
Though it is not considered to be a serious illness and is certainly not life threatening, it is very uncomfortable and highly contagious. Considering that this first became apparent on the last day of our feast and that the incubation period is 3 — 6 days, it is possible that others may exhibit symptoms right about the time we would be meeting for Shabbat this weekend. So then, as much as I hate to do it, I am canceling services for this coming Shabbat and next Wednesday. Consequently, we will not meet as a congregation again until October 9 at 11 AM. By then hopefully, anyone who was exposed to the virus will be over it and we can get back together. However, this is subject to change should this virus decide to linger with us for a while.
I regret that we have to do this and I know that some will be very disappointed — especially those of our out-of-town family who were staying over to join us on Shabbat. Still, we have to make decisions that are in the best interests of the entire body. So for the sake of those who aren’t affected, we will not meet corporately this weekend. In the meantime, pray that those who are affected will recover quickly and that their loved ones will not come down with this virus.
In a growing community such as ours, things like this are bound to happen. When they occur, the best we can do is to pray, use wisdom and persevere. We can be thankful that this is not a serious illness and, therefore, not a reason for our spirits to be dampened after such a great time together. Rather than allowing the circumstances to steal our joy, let the joy we experienced be the propellant that pushes us through to the other side of this inconvenience.
At the same time, let us consider the lesson we can learn from such a situation as this: we need to make sure that our choices are in the best interests of the community at large when they have the potential to affect the community at large. For example, when we or someone in our family is sick (and we are aware of it), stay home until there is no risk of others being infected. I realize that sometimes we are carrying a bug and just aren’t aware of it until later. That type of situation is just part and parcel of living in a fallen world and, in those cases, we will trust the Father to guide us through the circumstances.
When we are aware of something, though, let’s consider others when making choices. A decision that is convenient for us might create a great inconvenience for others. What might only mean a runny nose for you could result in days of lost wages for someone else and so we must consider our neighbor’s welfare even as we consider our own. This is a principle we must all resolve to live by whether we are talking about health, attitude or actions because we are a family. If we are to be a thriving and happy family, we must think, act and respect one another as family.
So, family: if someone in your tribe is feeling a little sluggish and complaining of a sore throat, be aware. They might even have an elevated temperature. If you hear of these complaints, look for the tell-tale outbreak of bumps/blisters on the hands, feet and mouth/ face area. Remember, this is very contagious and is contracted through direct contact with the person or something they have touched and could last up to 7 — 10 days. Be diligent to wash your hands, sanitize anything that might be contaminated and avoid direct contact with the affected person as much as possible.
To all of our live streamers, in lieu of our absence, we will stream our service from last year for the portion, B’reshiyt. We apologize for the inconvenience but, as our family, we hope that you will persevere as well and pray for everyone’s quick recovery. For those among our online community who are sick, post your requests on the prayer page at www.jacobstent.org
God willing, we will see everyone again on October 9.
Blessings and shalom.
(Saturday) 11:00 am - 5:00 pm