Weekly Message 05.01.2020 Parashat Leviticus 16:1-20:27
Acharaei (After the Death) - Kedoshim (Holy Ones)
As we begin the month of May, I hope that you are staying healthy and safe as the pandemic keeps us at home and communicating by computer, phone, and other 21st century technological marvels! As we continue to practice social distancing and are somewhat encouraged by the news on the medical front, we still have lots going on and I encourage you to reach our and participate in as much as you can under the circumstances.
I hope you were able to join me and the entire world as we celebrated Israel's 72nd birthday (Yom Ha'atzmaut) on Wednesday with millions of others throughout the world sponsored by all of the Jewish Federations. If you missed it, you can still catch it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrNU5GhJkFY at any time! Also, please continue to tune in to our Shabbat services every Friday evening at 7:30 pm at https://www.jccwestpasco.com/ and then clicking on the "f" (for facebook) at the bottom of the screen or go directly to https://www.facebook.com/jccwestpasco/ This Shabbat, we study the combined portions of Acharei Mot/Kedodshim, the same reading for the morning and afternoon of Yom Kippur. The themes of holiness and repentance play a large role in the Torah. Sacrifices relating to them are delineated and we read about the "scapegoat" to represent a sacrifice of cleansing us of our misdeeds. On Yom Kippur we learn that this is not enough, that in addition to sacrificing (which in our day could mean accepting responsibility), we must act in a very deliberate way to change our actions in a positive way that helps to heal ourselves, those in our immediate circles, and the community at large.
We thank all who have already contributed to our JCC of West Pasco's emergency fund that will enable us to pay our utility and building upkeep bills as detailed in our president's letter in the May issue of the Schrier. As our normal source of income (bingo) is in hiatus during this period of the pandemic, is no longer available, we are counting on the generosity of our congregants to the best of your ability. Donation checks can be mailed directly to the synagogue at 9841 Scenic Dr, Port Richey, FL 34668. We are now facing possibly the biggest health and well-being crises of our lives and must react positively and generously to ease the hunger, pain, and suffering of others. I continue to urge you to be in constant touch with friends, relatives, and fellow congregants and offer whatever assistance you can to those who are isolated and cannot do everything for themselves. Sometimes a simple phone call goes a very long way. In addition it is critical to fulfill of commandment of "feeding the hungry". 65,000 people in Pasco County alone live below the poverty line and during this Covid-19 virus period, many are without food and some without shelter. It is imperative that we donate whatever we can to help alleviate this suffering. I can personally recommend three appropriate charities, but of course there are many other religious and secular organizations dedicated to alleviating hunger and suffering, so please be generous if you can. All gifts, large or small, are important at this time and can be mailed directly to Metropolitan Ministries of Pasco County which maintains a food pantry that is open daily and serves our local community with many lifesaving meals. They also encourage volunteers and donations can be made payable to them by mail at Metropolitan Ministries 3214 US-19 Holiday, FL 34691 Donations can also be made by phone at (727) 937-3268 or at their website https://www.metromin.org/what-we-do/pasco/ Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger whose COVID-19 Response Fund supports critical efforts to ensure that everyone has immediate access to the food they need, with dignity – without exposing themselves to further danger or putting their dietary or nutritional needs to the side. Donations can be made at their website https://mazon.org/ or by phone at 1-800-813-0557 or by mail at Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger PO Box 96119 Washington, DC 20090 Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services maintains a food pantry and stays in touch with vulnerable individuals and families who are facing severe isolation issues during this critical period. Donations can be made at their website at https://gulfcoastjewishfamilyandcommunityservices.org/donate-to-gcjfcs/ or by phone at 727-479-1800 or by mail to Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services 14041 Icot Blvd. Clearwater Fl 33760 Together, we will overcome this terrible episode in our history, but as we all know, we as a people have overcome much worse. Hopefully, this episode will not last much longer and that we will come out of it with a better understanding and compassion for the world.
"See" you tonight at 7:30 pm Ron Becker,