2021 was supposed to be the start of better times, but the first week of this year seems to only add to our misery. Wednesday set a record for the most coronavirus deaths in the United States since the epidemic began, even as the news was dominated by the mob that took over the Capitol, delaying the counting of the electoral vote, and leading to the death of 4 people. In our own Adath community, we have had to grapple with the loss of our beloved Evette Katlin, wife of Hazzan and mother of Shara and Aaron.
The loss of Evette is particularly devastating for the Adath family. She was a beautiful voice and soul who contributed immensely to our community, from running a Rosh Hodesh women’s group to signing in the choir, leading services, and performing together with Hazzan and her children at innumerable concerts and programs. I myself deeply appreciated her guided meditations which brought meaningful spirituality to prayer.
During our Ripped from the Headlines session today, participants shared some memories of Evette, including her distinctive, boisterous, and joyous laugh. Whether through her singing voice or that laugh, you always knew when she was in the room. Because she was studying to become a rabbi, Evette and I spent a lot of time talking Torah. I was so honored that she would come to me for advice and mentorship in her rabbinical journey.
It is not only the Adath community who will miss Evette. Her fellow students and the communities that she served will also feel her loss, but in particular we send our love and support to her family. They will need healing as they go through the process of grief and mourning.
Healing is what we all need right now as well: physical healing for those who continue to suffer from the coronavirus pandemic and spiritual healing for our nation, torn apart by ideological divisions. Perhaps 2021 will not be the positive new start we were all hoping for, but I do think it can be a year of refuah, healing. It is up to us to do gemilut hasadim, the acts of kindness, that can bring comfort and hope even in the darkest times.