27 March 2020
If there is anything that this pandemic has laid bare, it is how interdependent we are. Patients need healthcare workers. Restaurants need patrons. Students need teachers. People need friends, and so on. The Jewish community in Greater Washington is no exception. We all need each other to get by, in good times and in bad.
In our community, we are also fortunate to be able to rely on dedicated organizations, synagogues, and institutions to provide what we need to build meaningful Jewish lives for ourselves and our families. We have some of the most effective and creative Jewish institutions in the country, many of which have had a profound impact on our lives. But just as we rely on them, so too do they rely on us.
Our local institutions need our support in order to carry out their important work. And yet, as schools close and services are halted, it can be easy to take our dollars with us and put our spending into quarantine as well. For some, this is an absolute necessity. Lost wages, medical costs, and other unforeseen expenses make this a truly challenging and scary time. If you or someone you know is struggling financially, please reach out to the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Greater Washington. Their team is standing by, ready and waiting to help.
If, however, your budget is flexible, I encourage you to show your support for the institutions in your life even—and especially—in this time of crisis. As the father of four, I can imagine how helpful it would be to forgo synagogue dues, upcoming summer camp contributions, or an annual spring donation. But I urge you, if you have the means to do so, to send your payments to those Jewish institutions anyway, whether in partial or full amounts. All those payments can be converted to charitable contributions that sustain the organizations we so desperately need. Our organizations play such an important role in our community and are poised to help us navigate a new future together—they could use a helping hand now more than ever.
One of Judaism’s central teachings reminds us that, “Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh” or that all Israel is responsible for one another. These words ring particularly true today. Though our world is being challenged on so many levels, I also hope that this struggle helps us appreciate the ways we can be there for each other and gives us the push we need to lean in to our mutuality.