Arbaim Shana

As this song focuses on the Jewish people’s 40 year stint in the desert, some emotions are brought to the fore. When I think about all those who were stuck in the wilderness for all that time, I cannot imagine how hopeless, aimless and overwhelmed they might have felt at times. As they rebuilt our peoplehood after generations of enslavement in Egypt, all the Jews had was each other. The connections they built and the drive they had to create a better livelihood for themselves was the only thing that kept them together.

Whilst our reality is far far better than those of the aforementioned newly freed Jews, the message of the song reminded me of the connection that HDUK and HDSA have with one another, especially in such a testing time. Both of our countries have been hit hard by coronavirus and, as a result, movement members have not been able to meet as normal for a long time. It gives me hope that we can extend a message of solidarity to one another and the knowledge that there are many people from across the globe that care about each other’s ongoing issues is inspiring.

This kabbalat shabbat service is not only a chance for us to spend time together and hear Jesse’s beautiful voice, but it is a statement from both of our branches of the movement that we are not alone, whether that be during a pandemic or any other time. The choice to spend a part of a Friday evening together lessens the feeling of bewilderment and helplessness that can overcome us, and it shows that Jews, no matter when they are, have a shared culture that can bind us closer together. – Benjy Goldstone, Boger