Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Last Friday night, I was privileged to attend a Kabbalat Shabbat service. The program was hosted by Smile on Seniors and provided the service, dinner and friendship to the “chronologically gifted” members of our Jewish community. Though I’m a few years shy of this demographic category, I found it to be one of the most meaningful services I have experienced in my two plus years in Phoenix – or anywhere, in fact.
Led by Rabbi Levi and Chani Levertov, and an exceptional group of enthusiastic and humble volunteers, the evening was professionally and lovingly orchestrated. Each of the 175+ participants received personal attention and was made to feel welcome. Among the group were couples, some married well beyond 50 years, as well as in-laws, widows and widowers–everyone having Shabbat dinner together, united by our Jewishness and enjoying being together.
Everyone seemed to know the blessings and the nigunim (songs). Everyone seemed so at peace and happy to be there, even the errant bird that somehow entered the room and flew around. How nice to have such a welcoming place to go to and share the beginning of Shabbat together. If you are among the “chronologically gifted,” consider joining Smile on Seniors Kabbalat Shabbat sometime soon.
This week’s Torah portion is Korach in the Book of Numbers. In it, the staffs of the 12 tribes were submitted to determine the one true High Priest. Only Aaron’s blossomed with almonds, proving he was G-d’s choice. After experiencing Kabbalat Shabbat with my new friends at Smile on Seniors, I have no doubt the figurative “staffs” held by the volunteers of this very special program would blossom with almonds as well. There was no other place I wanted to be last Friday night and I am so proud that our Federation supports this program as an area of core impact: Improving the lives of our community’s seniors.