Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
This is the week where I always get to say “May the 4th be with you” and Chag Cinco De Mayo Sameach! Well, if you don’t laugh……
As we enter the end of the second month of our “new normal” instead of talking about finding toilet paper, we are concerned about getting our “fleish” (meat). Who would have ever suspected, in our lifetimes, we would be encountering shortages for anything we wanted or needed? The flip side of that is look how easy life has been for so many of us the past 75 years or so. We really have come to take many things quite for granted. There is so much to learn and to figure out in the days ahead.
This unprecedented time reminds me why I became a social worker and have invested 34 years in Jewish communal service of which 32 have been with Federation. The past five with our own Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and three of those and counting as your President and CEO. What an honor it has been and here’s an example of why…
Here in the Valley, quarantined children have been busy decorating tzedakah boxes, donated by Jewish Free Loan. Our very own Shoshana Greenberg, director of our NowGen program, had planned a two-part live event — after coming together to collect their boxes and art supplies the kids would have five months to decorate them and fill them with coins – and then in September they would reconvene at a large scale event where they would allocate their tzedakah funds. When Shoshana began publicizing the online version of the launch event she started hearing from families in different cities who wanted to be involved. So, she shipped the boxes and art supplies to everyone who requested them. She’s currently reimagining the September event so that everyone can take part. She originally hoped to engage 75-100 people and ended up shipping packages to 150!
This week’s Torah portion is Emor (speak), in the book of Leviticus, the third book in the Five Books of Moses. The second part of the portion lays out essentially the entire Jewish calendar of holidays. This is also the portion which says “though shalt not wholly reap the corner of thy field…” for the poor and the stranger though shalt leave them” (Payot), which is why Chasidim grow them (the long curls on the sides of their head), to emphasize this commandment.
Isn’t it amazing and moving to see our youth being taught this tradition of tzedakah, all these thousands of years later here in the Valley of the Sun. Certainly puts a smile on my face.
Light candles on Friday at 6:58pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday at 7:58pm.
And eat your fleish if you can find it!
President & Chief Executive Officer
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