Friday, November 2, 2012

Shabbat-O-Gram: Sandy and Shabbat

 The Shabbat-O-Gram is sponsored by Dora and David Salm in honor of Nathan's becoming Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.

Shabbat Shalom (and happy Balfour Day- see a strong case for celebrating Lord Balfour's famous 1917 declaration here)

It's hard to think of a Shabbat that was ever more necessary than this one.  I hope you can join us this evening at 7:30 as we gather strength together as a community and pray for the welfare of all those impacted by the storm. Our Kabbalat Shabbat services fill us with spiritual strength while at the same time lowering the blood pressure.  Simultaneously, relaxing and invigorating - you have to experience it to understand what I am talking about.  But understanding is really not the point.  Our services are not meant to be understood intellectually.  They are meant to felt experientially.  And they are.  Join us tonight to see why.  Plus, we have heat. 

It's hard to recall a week - at least since 9/11 - when community has been more important and where so many have come through for so many.  We played our small part.  Upwards of 50 people have made use of our facilities each day in the aftermath of Sandy.  We served up coffee, lunch and warm Steve Lander cookies, and we've provided ample work space with wi-fi access, plus our state of the art computer room.  All that - and we also had full minyans for the past three mornings and ran Hebrew School and Shorashim nursery school.  We're open once again today and will be again on Sunday morning for those still without power. 

TBE's hurricane relief activities were the subject of a report on NPR's Morning Edition. You can hear it here. We've gotten positive reaction to that story form people around the country. Also see my new Jewish Week column, "The God Particle in All of Us," based in part on my Rosh Hashanah remarks about the Mayan Apocalypse and adapted to a post Sandy reality.

As the heartbreaking tragedy of this storm continues to unfold before us, our hearts go out to all those who have suffered so much in our neighboring states, and our own. Monetary donations can be made to the Red Cross or the Jewish Federations' Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.

For more on the storm from a Jewish angle, see Tree Felled By Sandy Kills Jewish Teacher, College Student In Brooklyn and Jewish Organizations Scrambled To Help Needy During Hurricane Sandy from the Jewish Week and Lessons of Sandy, an editorial from the Forward - and I am very pleased that the public conversation has at long last placed climate change high up on the national agenda.

Mazal tov to Nathan Salm, who becomes Bar Mitzvah at tomorrow morning's service.  At the service I'll be discussing a mitzvah whose origin traces itself back to this week's portion of Vayera, that of bikur cholim, visiting the sick.  It could not be more relevant, on a week when so many in our area are in need of a human touch, a caring hand.

Finally, not to be lost in all of this is the fact that Tuesday is Election Day.  Despite the tragedy, how refreshing it was to take a break from partisan campaigning, if only for a brief few days this week.  The politicians set just the right tone, working across party lines to get things done for the victims.  Now we need to do our part - and vote. 

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