Rabbinic Reflections: Issue 56

The Giving & Receiving of Tzedaka

March 12, 2021

Dear Holy Friends,

I hope this correspondence finds you doing well and in good health.

There is a lot going on in shul these days, so please allow me to share a few announcements of community interest!

We are posting information for the upcoming Passover festival on the synagogue’s website (cbiotp.org). On the website, you will find the details regarding holiday services and the selling of Chametz. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions with regards to Passover preparation or Kashrut.

This Sunday, we will celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Shauni Viner. Shauni is the son of our new members, Inbar Reiss and Omer Viner, so please join me in wishing them a virtual Mazal Tov! Our leadership has worked with the family to ensure that all Covid safety protocols will be followed, so everyone can enjoy the Simcha.

This Monday, we will host Hazzan Mira Davis, from Park Avenue Synagogue, as part of our Superstars of Jewish Song series. Mira is an accomplished musician and a friend of my daughter Leor, so please join us on Zoom from 8 – 9PM for an uplifting evening of song and celebration.

In this week’s Torah portion of Vayekhel-Pekude, we read the final instructions of the building of the Mishkan, the portable Tabernacle. The Torah records how Moshe (apparently the most successful fundraiser of all time) actually has to ask the people to stop bringing donations! Each and every donation we are told was brought through the willingness of heart.

Every synagogue, including ours, wishes to experience the same situation, where they have more than they need, as there is always a variety of costs involved in the running of a shul. With that said, although the synagogue is not a social service agency, we do try to keep an extra eye out for the members of our community who may need some extra help.

As we do every year, we invite the members of our synagogue to donate to the Matzah Fund, before Pesach, so we can make sure that all in the community can share in the celebration of our Feast of Freedom. But, this year has been different than all others in that we are still dealing with the effects of a global pandemic. Many people have become food insecure as a result of changes in the economy. In response, we established the Cares Fund, which was set up to help those of our members in need.

The donation of Tzedaka is a Mitzvah and we are all encouraged to give it. For those in need, the acceptance of Tzedaka is also a mitzvah. Much like we are all commanded to choose life, for those in need, accepting Tzedaka is choosing life. As your Rabbi, I alone administer the Cares Fund and do so discreetly.

I provide my phone number and e-mail address at the bottom of every Rabbinic Reflections, so you can contact me. If you can use some support from the Cares Fund, then I encourage you to let me know. If you don’t need help, but know someone in our community who may, then please also let me know. We all know that it is hard for many people to raise their hand when they need help, but also know that there is no shame in asking for help when it is needed.

Through our joint efforts, we will ease burdens, share love, and realize our greatest of potentialities as a community.

May this year bring us all a sense of peace as we slowly re-embrace our freedom and may that sense of freedom inspire us to continue to care for our those in our community.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Eric L. Wasser, EdD
201 562 5277

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