Supporting Those in Need

Rabbi's Message - April 5, 2022


Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

One of the first things synagogue board members learn about is our “Alphabet Soup” of Jewish life. An abundance of acronyms represent life-sustaining, hope-giving, bedrock-laying institutions, agencies, and organizations.  You have likely heard some of the well-known ABC’s in conversation, such as the ADL, URJ, HUC-JIR, RAC-OH, AIPAC, NFTY-OV, BBYO, JFGD, JFS, and UJA.  If you haven’t, don’t worry - you are certainly not alone.  But now you have a little homework.  There are some acronyms that have become less familiar, but are exceptionally important at this time.  

The global Jewish community has a long history of powerful ABC’s. Fortunately, they are in place and help us to reach out to Jews across the world and to support values we hold up as important, such as giving aid to immigrants and safety for refugees.  As we pay close attention to what is happening in the Ukraine, there are organizations on the ground prepared to help.  
One such organization is the American Joint Distribution Committee, the Leading Global Jewish Humanitarian Organization.  For more than 100 years the JDC has been offering aid to Jewish populations in central and eastern Europe, as well as Israel and the Middle East.  It also contributes millions of dollars in disaster relief and development assistance to non-Jewish communities.  
Rabbi Joshua Mikutis, son of congregants Jeff and Suzi Mikutis, is the Director of Design and Jewish Learning and Rabbinic Director of the Weitzman-JDC Fellowship at JDC Entwine, an organization he first connected with when he travelled on an Insider Trip to Moscow in 2012.  Entwine is the young adult platform of the JDC.  I’ve recently been in touch with Rabbi Mikutis and am excited to bring a meaningful opportunity for us to engage in Tikkun Olam.  
We will be supporting the JDC’s emergency efforts for the Ukraine, by collecting much needed hygiene supplies to ship to Ukrainian refugees.  These items include: adult diapers, baby diapers, wet wipes, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, towels and rubber slippers.  There are many ways you to get involved in this effort: bringing supplies, packing items, shipping boxes to Europe and Israel (depending on the need), or making a donation to support the JDC’s emergency efforts for the Ukraine.  
I encourage you to begin bringing items in this week - at Friday night services (in the sanctuary!), at religious school on Sunday, and at our Open House on Sunday afternoon.  This will be an ongoing effort but we would like to start off strong and be able to send materials as soon as possible.
As our Passover planning is well under way, we must focus on the central message of the Haggadah as much as we do our seder meals.  We were once an oppressed people who were redeemed from Egypt.  We have had to to seek refuge and protection at precarious times throughout our history and our gratitude extends by helping others in their times of need.  As we think back to the miracles God performed on our behalf in the days of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, let's commit to enabling such miracles today, partnering with God to mend our broken world.
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