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Shaping Narratives is an initiative to build capacity in communities of color by providing leaders with training in decolonizing narratives, media and production skills and community organizing as a distribution strategy. Each participant developed a show, a local affinity group and a social media following to address issues they are passionate about. Content is being used to spark change based conversations. The shows include, Ngiiwe, Color Out Here, Meeting God, The Black Honest Truth and Cultural Ingredients:

Rishi Singh Talks To Rabbi Michael Schadick from Temple Emmanuel about resources they are offering

Rishi Singh, hosts WGVU’s Meeting God, a TV show that uses immersive experiences of faith to explore belief and commonality in the human experience. For this podcast, he talks to faith leaders about resources they are offering their congregants and the community at large.

You're listening to shaping narratives, a collection of voices from West Michigan's communities of color brought to you by WGVU NPR and PBS in West Michigan. And in partnership with the WK Kellogg foundation, the voice of today's podcast is Rishi Singh host of WGVU’s meeting God, the TV, the show that uses immersive experiences of faith to explore belief and commonality in the human experience.

Rishi is a successful businessman and a first generation immigrant, with a deep commitment to family and community for this podcast, he talks to faith leaders about resources. They are offering in their congregations and in the community at large, with so many people laid off or struggling. It's hard to know where to turn faith communities across West Michigan are responding to the pandemic as best as they can here to discuss with the response from temple Emmanuel is Rabbi Shadek, Rabbi Shadek so much for taking the time today to chat with me with so many people laid off or struggling.

It's hard to know where to turn. Faith communities across West Michigan are responding to the pandemic as obviously the best they can. here to discuss the response is rabbi Shadek, rabbi what have you seen, and what is your community doing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak? 

First of all, thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity. We have been reaching out to our members in a way that we have never done before. we actually took our entire membership list and asked our, uh, our board of trustees members to make phone calls, just to make sure that everyone who is a member of our congregation, uh, is called to check in on them and see how they're doing.

At this time, when we have so much uncertainty, we want to connect with everyone just to, uh, you know, make sure that they have the things they need. So it's really been an opportunity for us, not just to reconnect with people we haven't seen perhaps in a While, but also to make sure that we're doing right by them.

So it's been a very worthwhile and we're trying really to, um, to make as many of the opportunities for learning and worship. That we've always had in place, just using a different vehicle. We have become very adept and astute using zoom and more and more of our members have also gained education, how to, um, you know, to, um, join us.

Using that zoom for worship and for study. And the truth is some people now are saying to us how lovely it is to have so many opportunities from the comfort of their homes that we might consider continuing some of these same opportunities. Once we're able to go back into our facility. 

Yeah, it really is remarkable.And I think we're, we're seeing that transition take place and people are starting to get more comfortable with it as well. And as well as it's a learning curve for many, do you find that to be the case with some of the older members in the community? 

Absolutely. I'm really astounded by the number of people who have taken the opportunity to become better educated, including, you know, yours truly here. I had never been on a zoom meeting before this virus arrived and, um, you know, some of our members really have taken The opportunity to educate themselves. And some people certainly who are a little more. Technology. Um, well, not as comfortable having more of a challenge with these new arrangements, I will say though, that people are, are, are trying as best they can to make the best of the situation.

So even if they can't join us for weekly worship, we have this network of people connecting with each other and that's made things just a little easier.

So Rabbi, as far as the weekly worship goes, is your congregation still meeting via the zoom sites? Is there a weekly, uh, zoom calls? Are they daily or are they individual how's that working 

All, all of the above. We have we're in a period of special growth between the holiday of Passover, which, um, ended last week and our next major holiday, the holdup Shavuot, which takes place at the end of may. And so for seven weeks, We actually have an opportunity to connect with each other every single day. So in the morning we gather together a group of, of us and we reflect on a piece of wisdom.

We will be talking about it. Um, and so for me, this is kind of a first, because I've never done this every single day with my members until this year. So it's, you know, it's a way to check up on people, but also learn something. In these, in these seven weeks, but we also have a weekly worship service, and we're definitely not meeting in our, our synagogue.

We are all at home and we are, um, we are, you know, from different locations, our musicians and myself, we're all. Cobbling together a worship experience that is, um, I think unique and it provides us, you know, a chance to welcome in the Sabbath together as we would normally. But, uh, again, just from the comfort of our homes.

Yeah. And that's, and that's the beauty of it.  rabbi one last question. What is the address of the synagogue? We're located across from Aquinas college at one 71 five East Fulton street. We've been there since the early 1950s. And we are blessed. We have been a congregation in grand Rapids since 1857. 

That is remarkable. Is there a way for listeners to connect with a synagogue online or a Facebook page or any other ways? If they go to our Facebook page, they can request information to get the link, to worship with us. One of the, one of the challenges of, of zoom as we want to make sure we know who's coming into our service.

So if they request information, then our office staff will get back with them. 

Wonderful Rabbi, thank you so much for your time. And I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. 

I appreciate the thought and, and we wish everyone well, uh, as well, take care. 

Thank you so much. Bye bye.

Shaping Narratives a collection of voices from West Michigan's communities of color is brought to you in partnership with the wk Kellogg Foundation, a partner with communities where children come first. Want to hear more Shaping Narratives episodes download and subscribe at WGVU dot org or wherever you get your podcasts. Please rate and subscribe if you get a chance, it helps us to know you're listening. Shaping Narratives is produced by WGVU PBS and NPR in West Michigan through the facilities of the Meijer public broadcast center in the service of Grand Valley State University. Matt Gruppen processed all the audio, Joe Bielecki edits each episode, Vance Orr designed our graphics and manages our Web presence, Phil Lanes is our director of content. The views and opinions expressed in this program are those of the hosts and their guests and do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU or Grand Valley State University.