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Chaplain's Corner

                                      Restore Our Comfort Zones

                                    BY RABBI BARRY COHEN
                                     The days are getting shorter. The nights are get-
                                    ting longer. The skies are dreary. The mist and
                                    fog are returning … and with it the rain.
            Published biweekly by    Fall has knocked me out of the comfort zone of
            Jewish Federation of    summer. Granted, at times the heat was brutal.
              Greater Portland      But I enjoyed the blue skies, the long sun-filled                   Rabbi Barry
          9900 SW Greenburg Road,   days and plenty of opportunities to get outside.                    Cohen is
                                                                                                        the Jewish
                 Suite 220           For nearly two years, how many times have we                       community
              Tigard, OR 97223      been knocked out of our comfort zones?                              chaplain of
               503-245-6219          Pre-pandemic, I had settled into a comfortable                     the Greater
        rhythm. Consistently, I met face-to-face with in-                   Portland area.
                                    dividuals, families and groups. We shared quality
                 Editor             time, whether in private homes, retirement com-  What knocks you out of your comfort zone?
                                    munity  residences,  communal  meeting  rooms,
               Deborah Moon         the  MJCC  lobby  or  coffee  houses  scattered   After we answer that question, we face the next
  throughout Portland. Hospitals were wide open  one: How can we find a way to get back into our
           503-892-7404 (message)   for visits. There were also hospice interactions  comfort zone?
                                    at various locations. I enjoyed in-person teach-  We can transform our indulgences into regular
              Circulation           ing in retirement communities, high schools and  self-care. Why not spoil ourselves more often …
            To receive the Jewish   synagogues.                              guilt-free?
          Review in your email inbox,   I spent more time away from my office than in   We can embrace the beauty  of the changing
          email your name and email   my office.                             season. The day I look at the natural setting that
                 address to          Cue the pandemic-imposed screeching of tires.  surrounds us and take it for granted will be a sad,
  COVID completely  disrupted  my rhythm  and  soulless day.
                                    your rhythm.                              We can slow down. We all know how strange
           OPINIONS printed in the   Then the tease. I thought we turned the corner  time can be. Sometimes it crawls. Sometimes it
            Jewish Review do not    in the summer  as we began  systematically  to  flies by. I believe we play a part in dictating the
           necessarily reflect those   lift restrictions. Cue the Delta variant. We were  pace of time. We can be proactive. We can frame
                                    knocked out of our comfort zones again.
                                                                             portions of our day. We can set clear boundaries,
            of the Jewish Review     The High Holidays offered me some solace. At  not to be violated. Then we can be open to what
            Committee, the Jewish   least I was able to gather at Congregation Beth  happens next.
            Federation of Greater   Israel for worship. Even though we were outside   We can devote portions of every day of the
            Portland, its governing   … even though we were masked … it beat the  week  to  our  passions:  hiking,  reading,  coffee,
          board or the staffs of either   alternative of another virtual experience on my  cooking, music or podcasts. We can make con-
            the newspaper or the    Microsoft tablet.                        nections  with people, nature, art, religion or
                Federation.          The High Holidays were a valuable time to re-  spirituality.
                                    flect and to get in touch with my emotions. I now   Being in our comfort zone is not always about
              Upcoming              clearly  understand what knocks me out of my  what we do. It is not dependent on productivity
                                    comfort zone. It’s just one word. It’s four letters  or on accomplishments. Often, we can be in our
                issues              long.                                    comfort zone when we are in the moment, when
                                                                             we are connected, and when we are in relation-
                                     I fear that everything will be shut down again. I  ship with someone, something, some power be-
          Issue date  Deadline      fear a breakthrough case of COVID for me or my  yond ourselves.
                                    children. I fear schools becoming virtual again.
                                                                              We can do this. We can rediscover our comfort
                                    But fear is just an emotion. That word is not re-  zones and develop strategies to protect and pre-
           Oct. 27     Oct. 21      flective of reality. It’s only reflective of a possible  serve them. The beautiful result will be the heal-
                                    reality … a reality that is inside my head.  ing of our bodies and spirits.
          Nov. 10      Nov. 4

          Nov. 24      Nov. 18        Rabbi's Corner

                                       In  addition  to  the  Chaplain's  Corner,  the  Jewish  Review  offers  space  for  a
          Dec. 8       Dec. 2         Rabbi's Corner each issue. Our community's rabbis are invited to share their
                                      thoughts on the week's parsha or current events. The Oregon Board of Rabbis
        Submit news, photos           organized the project.
        and obituaries to              Rabbis are invited to schedule a date to submit a 500- to 600-word piece.      For more information, email

        8 Jewish Review Oct. 13, 2021
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