Signing onto the Religious Action Center’s Brit Olam helps the congregation reaffirm our commitment to meaningful social justice work, grounded in our sacred and enduring Jewish values, and join a growing network of congregations working in concert to repair our world. The RAC developed the Brit Olam to articulate a long-term vision of a strong, networked Reform Movement acting to bring upon the world we want — a world filled with justice, compassion and wholeness. You can learn more at www.rac.org.
Reprinted from the Winter 2018/2019 Newsletter:
The Social Justice poll taken during 2018 Mitzvah Day showed that adults and teens want to work on ending hunger and gun regulation issues. The committee has listened!
Julia Preble and so many others are helping to collect, sort and deliver food all year. Our Yom Kippur team included Kris Goldberg, Diana and Marty Block, Rich Westelman, Mike and Chana Snyder, Peter, Meghan and Molly Bloomfield, as well as the entire Preble family: Rusty, Naomi, Jacob and Julia.
Since Yom Kippur, more than 1,500 pounds of food have been delivered to the Scituate, Weymouth and Hingham Food Pantries.
Thanks to the efforts of Tom Jenkins and Marci Bracken, we now have two new bins at Sha’aray Shalom for year-round food collection.
For Thanksgiving, Sha’aray Shalom raised money for the Hingham Food Pantry to provide turkeys for 15 families, and to help homeless members of our communities during the winter months, we are collecting 200 pairs of wool socks.
Looking ahead to 2019, we will sponsor three programs for adults and teens on balancing our children’s safety with the right to own a gun. CSS will again participate in the annual Boston Pride Parade in June. Sally and Steve Bergstein are organizing again. Mitzvah Day on Sunday, May 5, will include a Blood Drive chaired by Marty Gall and the assembly line packaging of 10,000 meals for South Shore residents.
Much to do and many ways you can participate! Our team is growing daily: Jessica Badiner, Adam and Leia Rudikoff, Susan Evans, Suzanne Ruminer, Jordan Sommer and Cheryl Hurchand have all volunteered to help. We hope you’ll join us!
I am writing this to sing of the pleasures and satisfaction one gets from volunteering and helping in the myriad ways that keep our many-faceted temple activities running smoothly—all ages and genders are welcome!
Helping Ellen, our Executive Director, with some of the many responsibilities that rest on her shoulders is extremely worthwhile. For our retirees, this can be a great way to spend some of your spare time. It’s also a wonderful way to make new temple friends or share an hour or two with close friends. You pick the day, time, and hours that you are available. The “chores” vary from day to day, with some as simple as folding and stuffing into envelopes the notices that go to the Congregation or wrapping gifts for our Hebrew school students, and others more involved, such as readying the temple for holiday events.
It’s a huge effort to run the business of our temple. I recently organized into two binders (punch the holes, put them in the binders) the unbelievable amount of paperwork—invoices, statements, contracts, documents, and more—that keep the temple up and running! I was totally “blown away” and it gave me a much greater appreciation of the time and experience that our clergy and members of the board and committees give. I have been a volunteer for a little more than ten years and it would be a stretch to think I could continue for ten more (being a very senior senior). But as long as I wake up in the morning, put my feet on the floor and they move, I shall continue to move them to Sha’aray Shalom, where whatever time I give is always warmly welcomed and thanked. It’s such a nice way to “feel the love.”
Breathing. A normal, healthy adult takes between 12 and 20 breaths per minute. Assuming the average breathing rate is 16 breaths per minute, adult humans take 23,040 breaths per day without giving it so much as a second thought. I know I never really thought about it, until March 14 of this year.
As some of you know, I recently had a terrible battle with pneumonia that landed me in the hospital emergency room. I remember laying in that bed thinking, “is this it? Have I celebrated my last Passover? My last Shabbat? Am I going to die never having married? I grew up Catholic. I know all about Last Rites, but I have no idea what Jewish customs are!” And I started to pray. I couldn’t speak, and I was too tired to move my lips. All I could do was think the words and hope that, somehow, they would reach G-d.
I asked Rabbi Joseph to add my name to the Mi Shebeirach list that week, as I was still in the hospital during Shabbat. Once word went out that I was seriously ill, a magical thing happened. I began to see a side of this community that I had heard about, but never experienced firsthand.
People called to see how I was doing, and if I needed anything. The Caring Committee reached out. Rabbi Joseph came to visit, which was exactly what I needed. Sometimes, I need a voice of reason to tell me to slow down, or as she likes to say, “take a breath.” I have to laugh at the irony of that statement in this particular case because literally, all I wanted to do was take a breath without pain or coughing or effort. I wanted it to come as naturally as it used to.
Ellen came to visit on the day I was discharged, and I received one of the lovely “knitzvah” blankets made by our knitters. Once I was home, I was scared. I was going to have to rest, but somehow do things for myself, too.
And here’s why I love that blanket so very much – I wrapped myself in it and set up camp on my couch. It was as if my entire community was reaching out and hugging me. In that moment, I wasn’t scared anymore because I knew that I wasn’t alone. All I had to do was reach out, and somehow, things would happen. And yet, it was the idea of being in a giant hug for as long as I needed that was truly comforting. It isn’t just any old blanket, nor is it a collection of pieces of woven yarn. It is a physical manifestation of the healing wishes of those who physically assembled it and the community as a whole. That blanket, in particular, is a give of love, compassion, and caring.
I’m still not better, but I have all of you in my corner. And sitting here, on this Shabbat afternoon writing this, wrapped in my “knitzvah” blanket, I realize that I’ve just had another lesson in what it means to be part of a Jewish community. It’s a strong and powerful bond, reminding me once again, what an absolute privilege and an honor it is to be Jewish.