The traditional Jewish greeting at this time of year, between Rosh Hashanah and the end of Yom Kippur, is “G’mar chatimah tovah,” may you be sealed (for a good year). This is a unique period of time in which the new year has begun, and we still have an opportunity to reflect on the past year and make amends.
What will you do differently in this new year? On a personal and a professional level, I look forward to spending even more time with community members from all across Western Massachusetts, taking part in more events in person, and finding meaningful ways for people to get involved in our many programs and initiatives.
In preparation for Yom Kippur, people of all ages may find these resources from Jewish Learning Matters helpful: click here to see a variety of songs, webinars, and other tools. As a reminder, we have two new resources to offer for the High Holy Days: a Jewish Holidays Sensitivity Guide, which you could share with schools, employers, or friends; and a brand new series of supplemental readings for the holidays from the Jewish Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative, in which we are proud to be taking part. If you are interested in getting involved with JEDI or volunteering with any of our other programs, please reach out to Donor Impact Officer Bobby Naimark via email or by phone, 413-737-4313.
Updates from Jewish Federations of North America:
The beginning of the new year was marked, unfortunately, by tragedy and destruction in Florida as the mammoth, 140-mile wide Hurricane Ian slammed into the Sunshine State, leaving millions of residents without power and/or water and untold billions of dollars in property damage. The storm remains a threat to Georgia and South Carolina. While a number of Florida communities were severely impacted, the Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties and the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples were the hardest hit.
JFNA’s Emergency Committee, a volunteer body that allocates emergency funds to address disaster relief, is preparing to make grants from our limited national reserves. We invite you to join us in supporting these efforts through clicking on our dedicated national mailbox.
Federations are also eager to help with scores of volunteers going in to help with initial cleanup. To assist with the first Shabbat, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County sent 1000 meals to help communities on the west coast of the state.
Earlier this week, Jewish Federations participated in the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health. The Administration’s recently announced National Strategy to address the problem of hunger in America incorporates a number of recommendations from Jewish Federations, including increasing funding for Meals on Wheels, making kosher food more available in food banks and pantries, and focusing on nutrition as a major determinant of health and wellness in working with hospitals, health plans, and other providers.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also released a new National Strategy, incorporating recommendations provided by Jewish Federations’ Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma that highlight the impact of trauma on the caregiving experience. The strategy also cites Federations’ brief, Supporting Family Caregivers of Older Adults with a History of Trauma, and endorses practices developed by Jewish Federations to mitigate these impacts.
As always, you can reach me any time with your thoughts and questions at email@example.com.
Shabbat shalom and shana tovah,