Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
It feels a lot longer than one week ago that the tragedy in Surfside, Florida took place. It has simply been heartbreaking watching things unfold at the site of the condominium building’s collapses.
At the time of this writing, the death toll had risen to 16 and 147 people remain unaccounted for. I was stunned when I saw a colleague from the Miami Federation and her husband being rescued out of one of the remaining buildings. May the memory of those who have died be for a blessing. And may those awaiting outcomes regarding the missing be comforted and receive closure.
Even when we are stricken with such devastating news, it is only human to continue on with our lives as we mourn. This past Sunday (June 27th), an excited group of 18 high school teens from the Valley of the Sun departed for Israel on a special service learning adventure; CareAvan – ROOTS Israel. The BJE’s Hebrew High brought the idea to Jennifer Sosnow, with JNF, to arrange for a community trip from Phoenix; but this year adding a new twist to the meaningful work that the BJE’s Hebrew High Care-a-Van has been doing for the past 18 years, travelling up and down the western states making a difference in the world in a fun and meaningful way. On ROOTS Israel, the four-week service learning adventure with Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI), will feature travel, and volunteering with local Israelis, all while exploring issues of environmentalism and social sustainability that are crucial to Israel. Best of all teens from three different summer programs are travelling together – BBYO, Camp Stein, Hebrew High, and JNF. Nesiyah tovah, safe travels.
This week’s Torah portion is Pinchas (name of the main character), in the Book of Numbers, the fourth in the five Books of Moses. In it, Moses is instructed on how the land of Israel is to be divided by lottery among the tribes and the families of the Israelites. How exciting and invigorating it is to know that all these thousands of years later, our Jewish high school teens are roaming and experiencing that same land on a service-learning adventure.
Let’s all please spend a moment in silence this Shabbos to remember those lost in Surfside and to pray for the families waiting to know the fates of their missing loved ones.
Light candles Friday evening at 7:24pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:25pm
Shabbat Shalom and have a happy Independence Day long weekend!
President & Chief Executive Officer
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