Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
This past week, someone, and I cannot remember who, aptly described that since the pandemic, “the days are long and the weeks are short”. I think that sums things up pretty accurately, at least for me. And as we exit July and move into August, we continue to grapple with the consequences of COVID-19. First and foremost, we continue to be concerned with its spread and the many who have become ill. And we mourn those who have died from this pernicious virus. Also of great concern, is the impact the spread of the virus has had on the economy, with so many out of work and many businesses struggling to survive. As I write this message, Major League Baseball, which began to play regular season games last week, is grappling with what to do after 14 Miami Marlins players were diagnosed with the illness and other teams, such as the Philadelphia Phillies, are struggling in this manner as well. Will the season play on or be cancelled?
Today I was on a call with our leadership at JFNA (The Jewish Federations of North America), as they prepare, and prepare the 146 independent Federations in North America, for the “Phase 4 Coronavirus Economic Relief package” which is currently being considered by Congress. Issues like unemployment benefits, low interest loans, a second PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) and PPE tax breaks are being discussed, as well as relief to our schools. The consequences of these decisions for so many in need of assistance in our country are simply enormous. The package being debated is currently between 1 to 3 trillion dollars, the largest economic relief package in the history of our Nation.
One of the great innovations that has come out of this crisis is the Changemakers program I have discussed in previous Shabbat messages. The focus there is on building the leadership skills of our Jewish young adults between the ages of 20-24. That’s why I was so excited when Kori Schwartz, a local young leader, reached out to me with her own innovative program. Kori started a singing group called Mixed Melodies, and they sing at senior living homes in Arizona. Because of COVID-19, they were only able to do a few performances before the senior living centers closed their doors to visitors. In order to still provide entertainment for those centers (and anyone else who may be interested), Kori created a YouTube channel (and Facebook/Instagram) where people from all over the world submit messages and videos to seniors unable to see their family and friends. Kori would love for you to subscribe to her YouTube channel (by pressing the red “subscribe” button), and let her know what you think! She also asks for you to please share this information with seniors you know in the community. She will be adding videos to the channel regularly! Let her know if you have any thoughts or questions.
This week’s Torah portion is Va’etchanan (Implored) in the Book of Deuteronomy. This Shabbat is also known as Shabbat Nachamu (comfort) and is named for its haftarah, which is from Isaiah and speaks of comforting the Jews for their suffering. It’s the first of seven Haftarahs of consolation leading up to Rosh Hashanah and it always follows the fast of Tisha B’Av, one of the saddest days on the Jewish calendar. Mixed Melodies also provides comfort and Yasher Koach to Kori Schwarz for creating this wonderful initiative. It seems that our Jewish future is in good hands!
Light candles on Friday at 7:10pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 8:07pm.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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