Facebook Post of Rabbi Perlin in the Time of Coronavirus (5/28/2020)

Thursday Post 5.28.20: My Quilt Arrived!

by Rabbi Amy R. Perlin, D.D. 

This pandemic isolation has given us so much extra time to sort, save, and take our time deciding what goes and what stays.  When I opened that bottom drawer in my closet, I knew that I wasn’t ever going to wear all those t-shirts from my 32 years at TBS.  The ones I wear, and plan to continue to wear, are already hanging in the “permanent collection.”  But, as I lifted each one, from the very first Temple B’nai Shalom shirt every made in 1986 to the last Confirmation t-shirt in 2018, I knew I wasn’t ready to part with them.

When the boys grew up and had homes of their own, I took 24 of their classics and had them made into quilts by MemoryStitch.com.  It gives me great joy to see my grandchildren watch TV covered in those old Camp Harlam, Phish, and college shirts.  So, I decided that I would pick 24 shirts to be made into a quilt for our new media room at the condo.  And yesterday, the quilt arrived in the mail with a thank you note from the four people who worked on it, at a time when having a job really matters.  The quilt isn’t just a memory of my wonderful 32 years of memories with the congregation that I founded and still love, it is also a symbol of the importance of each of us doing what we can to SAFELY help others be gainfully employed.

After it is washed and dried, I plan on hugging that quilt with the t-shirt from the first temple trip to Israel and the one from #Confirmation, when Twitter first came into being… and the one from the year they chose the theme based on the Mastercard slogan, “Confirmation- Priceless.”  The quilt will remind me of Mitzvah day memories, youth choir, and youth group events.  I can’t take each person who made those memories with me to my new condo, but their names are there for me to remember, and I know I will smile each time I do.

Over the years, the Confirmation service has always been a reflection of the fact that my students were on the cutting edge of what was newest in society at the time.  The first Confirmation class in 1987 used five or six different fonts on their service cover, because computer fonts were new.  We went from VHS, to DVD recordings, and leaped to the future when each confirmand did a JEW-talk, filmed and modeled on the TED talks.

This Sunday will be a congregational first.  This year’s class won’t be confirmed in our sanctuary.  Desperate times call for creative solutions.   “The Conformation must go on!” said Moses.  I don’t know what to expect from “Confirmation 2020-style,” but I have an invitation and a Zoom password, and I will be in the front row, on Sunday at 10 am.  From Zoom Passover to Zoom Shavuot, once again we show the world how resilient our Jewish holidays and life cycles are. Life goes on.  Where there is a will, there is a way to connect and confirm in community.  And in a world just emerging out of months of isolation, that is truly something to celebrate!