The Chaplain's Notebook


In mid-March, our good friend Rabbi and LASD Chaplain Eric Morgenstern sent out this wish for peace, safety and health. I’d like to share it with you.

Whether or not COVID-19 is still active at the time these notes appear, his wishes are still relevant. With his blessing, I added some brief observations as well.

Chaplain Morgenstern writes:
“Dear Friends, we join together and ask our universal Creator, who showed power and caring by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental and spiritual ailments …”

You have gone through a lot these past few weeks and months — overtime, worry, stress, exhaustion. Our chaplains pray each of you can acknowledge and affirm your sacrifice. You are heroes, indeed, to willingly accept our communities’ thanks for what you do (an appreciation more real and profound than you might imagine), and to allow yourself and your families rest and self-care as you can.

“Please be present now to people who need Your loving touch because of COVID-19 …”
The psychiatrist Carl Jung inscribed this over the front door of his home: “Invoked, or not invoked, God is still present.” In our faith, God is with us whether we know it or not. Always, a loving God.

With all dark clouds come silver linings. Now we may get more time to spend alone in reflection, more time with our families. Hopefully, from this experience, our society may learn how to better protect our children and grandchildren in the event another large-scale public-safety challenge arises … and it will.

“May they feel Your power of healing through the care of all first responders, doctors and nurses …”
Have you seen the video of New Yorkers applauding all their first responders every Friday night ( This is for you! Yes, own it!

“Take away the fear, anxiety and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine …”
Perhaps the greatest fear we’ve faced in this pandemic is, as President Roosevelt once said, “fear itself.” These are frightening times, in large part because it shows we can’t control what happens to us. Nature rules. We can only control how we respond!

Just as you provide comfort and consolation to those you serve — even if only through your simple presence — we urge you to accept comfort and consolation for yourselves in whatever way works: prayer, meditation, exercise, a long walk, a good book or a beautiful sunset.

“Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing health and protecting others from exposure to the disease …”
As I said above and want to emphasize, you may not know it, but you’re providing comfort. You model selfless duty. The streets may be empty, but you’re still to be seen. Sure, there’s grousing by some, but most share this from Randy in Malibu: “Thank you for keeping us safe while we stay safer at home!”

“Protect their families and friends, and bring peace to all who love them. And let us all say, Amen! Be safe, LASD!”