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Losing a loved one during the past 16 months has been a compounded experience of losses. The pandemic changed the way we visited people who were sick and the way we held the hands of a person preparing to die. The experiences of grief without shiva, without community, and without consistent access to a minyan to say kaddish also added to the loss.

I want you to know that even as Beth El moves toward reopening more fully, we will not leave you or your story behind. One way we hope to do this is through the creation of a quilt to memorialize the people connected to our community who died during the pandemic. We want to create a tangible, visible, and beautiful work of art that will mark their absence, celebrate their lives, and share their stories with our Beth El family. 

I hope you will participate.

We have created multiple ways for you to be involved in this project in an effort to make it as meaningful and as simple as possible.

Option 1: We will provide you with a fabric square for you to personalize for your loved one. You can design it with sayings, photos, objects, etc. --anything that captures the spirit of the person you are remembering or memories that might have been shared with the community during a funeral or shiva in other circumstances. We will also give you suggestions of materials you can use and a questionnaire to help you refine your design. Don’t let inexperience hold you back--we have a team of volunteers who are happy to help as consultants!

Option 2: We’ll design and make your square for you! Using a simple questionnaire or through a brief conversation with one of our volunteers, we’ll learn about your loved one and design something to honor their memory on your behalf. 

We would like to complete this quilt before the High Holidays so that people can view it when they come to synagogue for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Please let us know if you would like to participate by July 1. You can confirm your participation by emailing Zoe Raynes at, who will connect you to our master quilters, Joyce Wechsler and Susan Wolman.

I’m looking forward to sharing this treasure with our community this fall.

Kol tuv,

Rabbi David Schuck

Thu, September 23 2021 17 Tishrei 5782