I am sure you were as shocked and distressed as I was to learn of the destruction wreaked by Hurricane Sandy in certain parts of the Tri-State area. It is hard to believe that such devastation could happen here. I was touched by a posting on Facebook by one of my colleagues and mentors when I was in rabbinical school, Rabbi Margie Slome, who serves West End Temple, the Reform congregation in Neponsit, NY: “Our first floor has been flooded out….all of our Mishkan T’filah [prayer books] and revised Torah commentaries are soggy….The pews were uprooted. Our newly donated sound system…probably doesn’t work….I knocked on the doors of as many frail elderly as I could. Some who refused/couldn’t leave….Houses are on fire….” Our hearts go out to Rabbi Slome and her congregation and countless others who lost homes and businesses during this storm. If you want to help, you can give to the Union for Reform Judaism Hurricane Emergency Fund.
If you want to help rebuild West End Temple in Neponsit you can contribute directly to Rabbi Slome’s discretionary fund: RDF of West End Temple c/o Rabbi Margie Slome, 152 Westminster Rd., Brooklyn, NY 11218
At the same time, I am still wondering about you – members of our Temple Sinai community – and what has happened to you these past few days. Even if it is just to say, “We don’t have power but we’re OK,” please let me know by emailing me at email@example.com or texting or calling me at 201-655-0266. I don’t have the ability to respond to everyone given the state of our communications but I’ll worry less if I hear from you. (I guess that’s the Jewish mother in me!) Of course, if things are not OK, I want to know that as well. Perhaps, our Paul Winter Helping Hands Committee can find a way to help. At the very least, we can lend a sympathetic, listening ear.
At the same time we would like to invite all of you to have Shabbat “pasta dinner” tomorrow evening at the Temple at 6:30 p.m. We will provide the dinner; you bring a beverage and dessert. There is no charge, though donations are welcome. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or text 201-658-9103. We are very grateful to Temple and Sisterhood board member, Anne Marie Bennoun, for organizing and cooking this dinner. Last night, thanks to the efforts of Ann Marie and other volunteers, we served dinner to nearly 50 Temple members whose homes are without power. Still others dropped by the Temple to charge their cell phones or other devices, get a cup of coffee or just get out of the cold and dark. We will be open until 8:00 p.m. tonight and open again at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, Saturday (Shabbat) and Sunday.
Last but not least I would like to ask if any of you reading this have any gasoline in a can that you would be willing to give or sell to another Temple member. A number of people have generators but have run out of gas, which is now very difficult to purchase. Please notify me by email at email@example.com.
Temple Sinai provides many programs and services to our members. But, we are much more than an agency or institution. We are a community of people who are there for one another in good times and bad. We are a Temple Family.