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Marty’s Shabbat Message – October 17, 2019

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),

I hope you have all been enjoying and experiencing the High Holiday season. This week we are ending Sukkot, with a couple more holidays to go next week, culminating with Simchat Torah.

Sadly and tragically, we all felt the reverberations of the attack in Germany on Yom Kippur day. In the hours after Yom Kippur ended, we received a note from one of our contacts at The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) letting us know that one of our upcoming visiting speakers, Anastassia Pletoukhina (Nastia) was in that synagogue in Halle, Germany during the attack, along with several other JAFI staff. As we thankfully know, the attacker was not able to enter the synagogue, although tragically, he killed two people nearby.

The Jewish Agency for Israel is a decades-long partner of our Federation. Not only will Nastia’s presentation incorporate her experience on Yom Kippur, she will share with us the critical role Federation plays in ensuring JAFI’s ability to respond immediately in times of crisis no matter where in the world events may transpire.

At the Halle Synagogue, the volunteers responsible for security were able to see the approaching attacker that day on cameras purchased with funds from The Jewish Agency’s Emergency Assistance Fund, giving them time to secure the doors. These doors were another security enhancement made possible by that fund, which was established in 2012 after an assault in Toulouse, to support security upgrades to Jewish facilities around the world. It is through the generosity of donors to Federation’s annual campaign that this critical assistance and many other initiatives are made possible.

Please join us on Wednesday, Nov. 13 and hear first-hand from a dynamic young leader about what just recently transpired in Germany and the critical work of The Jewish Agency for Israel. Register at

This week’s Haftarah reading is Ezekiel 38:18-39-16. Ezekiel is one of the more famous prophets best known for the Valley of the Dry Bones and the hymn that begins “Ezekiel saw the wheel, way up in the middle of the sky. And the big wheel runs by faith and the little wheel runs by the grace of God.” The prophecy includes a description of an apocalyptic war against Gog, King of Magog. This is the ultimate battle between good and evil, in which good triumphs and it is fought during Sukkot.

While the events in Halle Germany on Yom Kippur are certainly not of the magnitude of an apocalyptic war, it is fair to say we are constantly being tested, in Pittsburgh, in San Diego and now in Halle Germany, to assure that the powers of good overcome and “outshine” the powers of the evil inclination and darkness. May we continue to draw strength from our 3,500 year old tradition and may we serve as a light onto nations.

Light candles on Friday at 5:32pm. Shabbat ends at 6:27pm.

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom.

Marty Haberer
President & Chief Executive Officer

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