07 October 2022
As we observed Yom Kippur this week, many of our hearts, thoughts, and prayers were with those still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Ian. Whole communities were wiped out over the course of just a few hours, and many people lost their lives. The weeks, months, and years ahead will undoubtedly be traumatic and challenging for many.
During the Yom Kippur morning service, as my eye wandered in the prayer book, I noticed one English text suggesting that the core idea of these holidays is “responsibility” – to God, to community, and to each other. For many of us, that sense of responsibility, compassion, and caring drives our collective response to emergencies, whether locally, in Ukraine, Florida, or elsewhere. Federation is proud of our work as part of this collective response. For decades, we have built partnerships with local and global organizations that enable us to respond quickly and effectively to urgent and emergent needs.
In the past few years alone, our community has come together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, to welcome Afghan refugees into our region, and to support the needs of Ukrainians whether still in Europe, or as they resettle in the United States or Israel. In each case, your support empowered Federation to turn our collective commitment and responsibility of gemilut chasadim (acts of loving-kindness) into action.
And of course, this work continues today. Immediately following the landfall of Hurricane Ian, Federation began raising urgently needed funds to help those left struggling in the wake of the storm. Many thanks to those who have contributed to our emergency relief fund. In response to this once-in-a-century hurricane, we continue raising funds to meet the evolving needs, including assessment of community needs and deployment of volunteers; and providing food, clothing, and shelter. If you would like to contribute to this crucial ongoing effort, you can make a gift here.
As we move towards the holiday of Sukkot, which begins this Sunday evening, we recognize the fragility of the shelters in which we all live. At the same time, we celebrate and honor the deep bonds we create within them – our bonds with one another. This Sukkot, may we remain committed to caring for those who need us most and to sheltering them in community as best we can, while continuing to build the bonds that define our vibrant community.
Thank you, as always, for everything you do for one another, for our community, and for those in need, wherever they may be.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sukkot Sameach (Happy Sukkot),
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