Responding to Coronavirus: Thank you

Written by Rabbi Josh Levy — 28 April 2020

One of the primary concepts running through our prayer is the expression of gratitude.  Saying thank you.

The first words we, traditionally, say first thing in the morning – Modeh or Modah Ani – I am grateful.

Throughout our day we might say Birkot Ha-nehenin – “enjoyment blessings”.  The two best known examples are ‘Borei pri hagafen’ and ‘Hamotzi lechem min haaretz’ – acknowledgments of the food and drink we are about to eat, expressions of gratitude by which we make our eating and drinking into sacred acts.

In our liturgy we find a number of expressions of gratitude, the purest of which is the Hoda’ah – the paragraph in the Amidah beginning ‘modim anachnu lach’.  Translated in our siddur as ‘we declare with gratitude’.

In communities which recite a silent and then a repeated Amidah in the morning service, there is an interesting feature of the Hoda’ah.  When the shaliach tzibbur is repeating the other sections of the Amidah, the community can leave them to it, but when they get to the modim, there is a special parallel version that everyone has to say.  Gratitude is something you can’t delegate to somebody else – we must take responsibility for saying our own ‘thank you’.


So, on behalf of the Alyth team, after more than a month in lockdown, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

Thank you to the many Alyth members who have volunteered: those who have made hundreds of phone calls of support to other members, those who have made deliveries, and those who have coordinated these efforts.  Thank you, too, to all those who have volunteered for whom we have not yet found a role.  We will over the months ahead.

Thank you to the Alyth trustees who have met every week, sometimes twice a week, to provide leadership for our community.

Thank you to everyone who has sent us messages to keep up our spirits in this odd new world.

Thank you from me to my Alyth colleagues who have worked unceasingly to continue to provide what we do as best we can, despite it all.


But most of all, thank you to the whole Alyth community for taking this seriously.  As a community we have approached this period with thoughtfulness and responsibility.

From our position as rabbis, we can see that we have benefited from this.
Not all of our colleagues have been so lucky so far.

So thank you for staying inside.
Thank you for using online options when you can.
When you have had to go out, thank you – strange as this sounds – for being unsociable to one another on your walks or shopping

We know that it is hard.  We also know that we have many more difficult decisions – personal and communal – that we will face over the many months that we will be dealing with this.  Our lives, including our Jewish lives, have much more disruption to come, and we will need to continue to be resolute and wise, thoughtful and serious over coming months.

Please know that your efforts are appreciated.
Thank you.