Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
One of my favorite songs of all time is American Pie, by Don McLean. My father, z”l, used to make fun of the lyrics, as I would be shouting them out from my bedroom as a young man of 18 year’s old. The big lyric in the song is “the day the music died,” and for those of us that follow pop culture, McLean was referring to the plane crash on February 3, 1959 that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson (along with the pilot, Roger Peterson). Strangely, I associate that lyric now with March 16, 2020. When I ask most people when they feel we entered into the world of pandemic, that’s the date most refer to. So now, this week, we are truly four months into “the day the music died” and it seems more and more apparent that things will not be returning to what we knew before that infamous date, anytime soon.
The good news is that our community has really come together and supported each other as we combat the effects of COVID-19. Here is a graphic reflecting how the most recent distribution of Emergency funds have been put to use:
And though our focus has and must be on the pandemic and the effects on our community members, we must continue to address the issues that we were dealing with before this crisis. During the past few difficult months, the Minkoff Center for Jewish Genetics has been continuing to counsel and screen our Jewish community to ensure that they are keeping up the fight against Jewish genetic diseases. On Tuesday, July 21 from 4-5pm the Center will be presenting a free Webinar highlighting stories of people in our community who have learned to thrive despite being BRCA positive. Learn about the Minkoff Center and what they do to provide resources for our Jewish community during this lively one hour event. Registration is available on their website here or you can register here.
This week’s Torah portion is a double portion, Matot (Tribes) and Massei (Journey). These are the last two chapters in the book of Numbers, the fourth of the five Books of Moses. The 42 journeys and encampments of Israel are listed, from the Exodus to their encampment on the plains of Moab across the river from the land of Canaan (Israel). So, just like when I hear the lyric “the day the music died” and I now think of COVID-19, I also think differently about our “journey.” What will the days, weeks and months ahead bring us and what will our lives look like? Well, we are about to find out, but we do so knowing that Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh (all of Israel are responsible for one another) and I find great comfort in that. I hope you do as well.
Wishing each of you a Shabbat Shalom.
Light candles on Friday at 7:19pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 8:18pm.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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