Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
This Shabbat turns the page on April and brings us into May. I think we will all agree that this is an April we will not forget anytime soon — maybe never. And, this past week also commemorated both Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s official Memorial Day for her fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, as well as Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, which commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. Yom Ha’atzmaut immediately follows Yom HaZikaron, as the mood turns from somber and serious to joyous and euphoric in a unique blink of an eye. I was very fortunate to have been able to stop and listen to the siren that ends Yom HaZikaron and ushers in Yom Ha’atzmaut, each of the past two years. Last year in Jerusalem and the year before in Tel Aviv. This year the experience was virtual and I pray to someday have the chance to experience it in Israel once again.
As we continue to grapple with the effects of the Coronavirus, your Federation continues to raise money and make grants to organizations with “boots on the ground” by providing safety net services to our most vulnerable. And now, through our national parent organization, JFNA (Jewish Federations of North America), we offer the following tzedaka opportunity to you: A new ‘Pledge to Protect’ Crowdfunding Campaign is launching to Help First Responders Access PPE Jewish Together has created a crowdfunding effort to help our Jewish nursing homes and home health agencies access the protective gear they need to continue their critically important work. We are working with our NexGen partners – Hillel, Moishe House, etc. — to move this effort out through their channels. The goal is 100,000 new donors to bring in $3 million (100% of every dollar to go to the cost of purchasing and distributing PPE). We are launching this campaign following the successful effort led by Kahal Abroad (with help from the Jewish Funders Network) that led to the successful purchase and distribution of a million pieces of equipment to these facilities. You can support this effort by clicking this link: Pledge to Protect. All of us, acting together, can help protect our community’s most vulnerable and the frontline healthcare providers who are taking care of them.
On another note, the Jewish News is also doing what they can to be of service to our community. They took down their website paywall back in March to better keep the community informed and connected. As a public service during this pandemic, the Jewish News is providing free, unlimited access to all articles. If you’d like to support our independent Jewish journalism, click here.
This week’s double Torah portion is Acharai Mot (After the Death) and Kedoshim (Be Holy) in the book of Leviticus, the third of the five Books of Moses. It is in Kedoshim that we read “Love they neighbor as they self.” The great sage, Hillel declared “this is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary.” Those words have never been more real or true for me than they are today with what we are all experiencing together.
I wish all of you good health and security during these tenuous times.
Light candles on Friday at 6:53pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 7:42pm.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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