Special to The Desert Sun
May 7, 2021
The past year has been a trying time for all of us. The worldwide pandemic has impacted our lives, and for many people it has been a period of survival and learning how to adjust to a radically different world than we knew before. Our community has also been more divided than ever. We are a community with conflicts that could potentially polarize its residents, such that people stop listening, tensions simmer and, in regrettable instances, some “final straw” incident triggers civil unrest and disorder.
It's easy in such times to lose your focus and forget about the positive things you have. Now that we are nearing the end of the pandemic, I urge us all to look within and once again find peace in our lives.
I have had the pleasure of being an active conservative rabbi for more than 30 years. In my work and my life, my calling has always been focused on helping people to find their inner peace. These days, the world seems devoid of happiness and full of sadness and death. In my work, I try to guide people to find something positive to hold on to during these painful days.
Prior to the pandemic, I held a series of informal discussion sessions that I called “Coffee House Rabbi.” At these sessions, people would drop by to discuss life events, and together we would work to find meaning and joy in their lives. During the pandemic, I've continued to offer these sessions free online.
Throughout my career, I have spoken with many people and regularly shared ideas with other clergy. In those exchanges, I came across many uplifting anecdotes and parables that I often used in my sermons. These stories and quotes were sourced from many places, including books, quotes from famous people, stories I was told by others and thoughts and stories that were shared with me. I saved them all, knowing these inspirational stories would be useful.
Recently, it occurred to me that I had amassed a compelling collection of wisdom. I wanted to share this with others in the hopes of helping our community find joy again in their lives. I found that they fell into four categories: inspiration, life lessons, religion and humor. I created a book called “Coffee House Rabbi: Spiritual and Religious Wisdom” that drew upon these thoughts and stories. I hope readers find the beautiful quotations and stories inspirational and uplifting.
We are through the worst of this pandemic. I urge you all to now start focusing on the positive aspects of your life, and once again find the peace that is within you.
Coffee House Rabbi Inc. is a nonprofit corporation providing spiritual and educational services to the Palm Springs community. The meetings are presentation- and discussion-based and are rooted in Jewish scriptures as a source of information and inspiration. The biblical references are contemporized using recent history, current events and modern-day life experiences. Coffee House Rabbi meetings are attended by Jews and non-Jews, older and younger, male and female, straight and LGBTQ and people from all walks of life. I invite you to join in and participate (or just listen).