Shalom from Rabbi Hammerman

We all want to lead lives that are meaningful and impactful, hoping to make a lasting difference in improving the world around us. Working towards justice, tzdedek, is the Jewish way to do so. This is manifest in giving both time and resources. It can be easier, sometimes, to give resources, tzedakah, money. But giving time can ultimately be even more fulfilling because time is finite.

For decades, now, a Jewish Mitzvah hero named Danny Siegel has been inspiring generations of American Jews to give of their time in ways that not only improve the world but deeply enrich their own lives. Some of us in the synagogue have heard and met Danny Siegel over the years, in Israel and here in the United States. I am so pleased that he will be joining us here at JCCH for a full weekend of inspiration at the end of March. The details of his visit are on page 7. I encourage you to participate in this weekend fully; you will be glad that you did!

On the general theme of Chesed, acts of kindness, we should be proud of the strides that our synagogue has made in recent years. Many of us have long been involved in Chesed efforts beyond the walls of the synagogue, taking leadership positions throughout our town and county. Within the synagogue itself, we are now doing more than we did before. Our active Chesed Committee, led by Heather Schwartz, helps us care for members of the synagogue in times of need. Our annual Yom Kippur food drive to benefit the Harrison Food Pantry is now the largest donation the pantry receives each year. It has now been a year since members of the synagogue began volunteering every single week at the Harrison Food Pantry, accepting deliveries from Feeding Westchester, the Westchester Food Bank, and preparing those items
for distribution to the needy within our town. Over 150 families visit the Harrison Food Pantry on a regular basis. We regularly collect shoes, coats and other items for the needy – as we should. We can be proud that we are ever-expanding our efforts to improve the world as a Kehillah Kedoshah, holy community.

What’s next? In recent months we have learned of a number of synagogues that have a beautiful, hands-on project, a “Chesed Freezer.” Every few months, a team of community members, not necessarily the same people each time, gets together and cooks and fills the freezer with food that is easy to prepare and holds well frozen. Then, in the ensuing weeks, each time a member of the community would benefit from the delivery of some soup or other items that have been prepared with love and kindness, those items are simply taken out of the freezer and delivered. With a bit of organization, this can be an easy and meaningful way to help others within our community and maybe even beyond. I am pleased that several people have told me that they would be interested in participating in this effort. Will you help us get this started? Please contact me when you can, indicating your interest.

“Mishenichnas Adar, Marbim B’Simcha.” In the Hebrew month of Adar, our current month, we multiply our gladness. Wishing you a happy, joyful, meaningful and impactful month of Adar.