What a difference a year makes.  That might be one of the biggest understatements muttered in a long time.  Let’s do a brief inventory:


A year ago the words COVID and coronavirus were nowhere on anyone’s radar.  I suspect it would have been inconceivable to most people how our world would be turned upside down.  With the possible exception of the polio epidemic, it’s very likely that a strong majority of our congregation has never experienced anything like this.

We all yearn for a return to in-person gatherings…Shabbat services, life cycle events, social events and continued learning opportunities, not to mention the camaraderie and friendship shared with our Temple family.  This may be particularly poignant with the high holy days just around the corner.

I assure you that your Temple Board is committed to returning to in-person services as soon as we feel it is safe for everyone and without exposing congregants and staff to unnecessary risk.  Until then, we will continue streaming events online.  Please don’t hesitate to contact the Temple office if you need assistance navigating the internet to find our services.


Would you like some derecho on your burrito?  Seriously??  This is likely another first for most of us.  Feedback so far is that even though most of us were affected by either power outage or downed tree branches, fortunately it sounds like very few had property damage.  There was also very little damage at the Temple and the Jewish cemeteries.  It’s probably not a stretch to say that it was a birthday to remember.


As Jews we have historically been empathetic and supportive of other groups seeking equality.  The protests and marches, primarily connected to the Black Lives Matter movement, are at a level not seen since the 1960s.  Regrettably, many of those gatherings have turned violent and destructive.  Who can ever remember a curfew in the greater Des Moines area?  I think we all hope for fair and humane treatment for everyone, and sooner rather than later.


Many of our places of business have been impacted directly or as a byproduct of COVID.  Some businesses are on reduced hours…some have gone to working remotely from home…some businesses have closed, either temporarily or permanently.  This also dovetails into our leisure time activities.  Hopefully we’ll see a return soon to going to a dinner & movie or perhaps your favorite team’s football game.


Oh yeah, there are these little things called national elections coming up in a few months.  Whichever side of the political ledger you may rest on, there is a lot of passion on both sides.  And is it just me, or do the campaign ads on TV seem to be getting more mean-spirited?  It looks like there will be hotly contested races at many levels of government.


With all this, how can there possibly be any good news?  Well there is!  When it comes to facing times of unrest, trials and tribulations, this is not the first rodeo for Jews as a whole and specifically some in our congregation.  Both Passover and Chanukkah are holidays born out of conflict or unrest, not to mention the atrocities of the Shoah.  We are Jews.  We’ve become too familiar with the worst that circumstances can throw at us.  Yet we always find a way to survive, ultimately even thriving.  The worst brings out our best.


Here’s wishing each of you a peaceful close to 5780, and a sweet 5781 full of health, happiness and prosperity!

Bill Grund