Hope Is Who We Are in Hawaiʻi: Perhaps Zoom Gets Us There for Now

By Sandra Z. Armstrong

As I walked along the Hawaiian shore today, it occurred to me that the world is a bigger, brighter place like the ocean that surrounds us. The crystal-clear water gently swirls around our feet as we walk along the water’s edge. Suddenly, I heard a voice speaking loudly. As I looked up, I saw a man directing a kite boarder, calling out “Lift up” and “Turn the other way.” The directions were clear, but I am not so sure the newly ordained kite boarder heard his voice.

How much is life like this? We are directed and called to, but we do not always hear an inner voice inside us. Perhaps God is our director? With hope, we will listen to these words with all the goodness of our heart. We were born to repair the world with everlasting kindness along with our continual success in keeping our community strong and engaged.

When we began Zoom, I was afraid. I thought nothing would be good enough for Sof to carry on its 47 year tradition of bringing comfort, joy, and holiness into our Jewish lives. I was fearful and I was wrong. If not for Zoom, we would have been detached for over 3 months now… much too long a time not to be connected to each other. We hold onto our weekly Shabbat gatherings in a world that has turned upside down momentarily.

Whether it be for our weekly Shabbat services, festival days, or even our shiva gathering for Helen Haymer, we have met our goal of maintaining the holiness of Sof Ma’arav. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all of you in achieving this incredible goal. This took time and effort on the part of many congregants.

Sof Ma’arav has found a way to achieve continual holiness for each other. We thank God that we have achieved our goals with many voices, including our Snowbirds, leading us in song and prayer. Our personalities are vibrant and delightful on the screen. The sages point out that the giving of the Torah took place at Sinai on one day to one people, but the receiving takes place at all times and in all generations. Let us continue to go from strength to strength as we hold Saturday services to the best of our ability, representing the westernmost synagogue in the world to do so!

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