Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
So just a few days ago, on June 6, we commemorated the 76th anniversary of D-Day. For those of you not up on your WWII history that was the day Allied troops began storming the beaches of Normandy. On this day 22,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded but 160,000 troops pushed forward and securing the coastline was the beginning of the tide-turning for the Allies and less than a year later, Germany was defeated. My Uncle Martin fought in these battles as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, the 327 Glider Infantry, also known as the Screaming Eagles. He was later killed in the battle of Bastogne on January 14, 1945, just before the war ended. He was 19 ½ years old, and he is my hero and I am his namesake.
Today we are fighting different wars. The war against Covid-19 and a continuing war against inequality and racial unrest in our society. We are experiencing protests and riots reminiscent of scenes we know far too well from the 1960’s and from other times in our past; and both the Covid war and the racial unrest have cost lives — far too many lives. But like on D-Day 76 years ago, perhaps there will be a day soon where we begin to see the tide turn on both of the plagues we are experiencing right now.
One way we begin to turn the tide is through g’mlut chasadim (acts of loving kindness). The Phoenix Holocaust Association (PHA) has launched a project they are inviting every major Jewish organization in Greater Phoenix to support. PHA is raising funds to provide meaningful recognition to other, too-often-forgotten workers on the frontlines of COVID-19: caregivers in senior residential facilities.
Their goal is to provide a $50-$100 gift card to Albertsons-Safeway for every caregiver working at The Palazzo, Belmont Village and the Beatitudes, three senior residential facilities in the Greater Phoenix area. Albertsons-Safeway has committed to a generous donation to jump start this campaign, but they still need $5,000 to meet their goal for the caregivers working at these three senior facilities.
We encourage everyone to consider donating here through the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and please check the box to direct your gift to the Arizona Holocaust Association’s Caregiver Relief campaign.
This week’s Torah portion is Be’halot’cha, In the Book of Numbers. In it, the children of Israel, while having been camped in the Sinai Desert for a year, express dissatisfaction with the “manna” or bread from heaven that G-d has been supplying to keep them fed. Moses finds governing the people to be exhausting and therefore appoints 70 elders, to whom he imparts his spirit, to ease the burden of singularly governing the people. Moses’ sister Miriam speaks negatively of him and is punished with leprosy. Moses himself prays for her recovery and the entire community waits seven days for her healing.
Dissatisfaction, issues and complexities of governance, and then a plague. Sounds awfully familiar all these thousands of years later, no?
May we learn from our history. May we look inward and find the best in ourselves, and may we do g’milut chasadim, acts of loving kindness, in order to begin Tikkun Olam, to repair our broken world.
I wish you and your loved ones good health and safety and a Shabbat Shalom.
Light candles on Friday at 7:20pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 8:24pm.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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