The Federation has a stated vision of creating a thriving, vibrant and engaged Jewish community. I try to distill this down even more simply by saying that our raison d’etre is simply to build a strong Jewish community in Pittsburgh. Of course, one of the most visible ways we do so is in the way we match up our work in community planning with our fundraising. For someone like me who spends a lot of time doing fundraising by educating community members about the impact of the Federation and then asking for their support, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur with the Unetaneh Tokef prayer can offer a great spiritual and religious reason for people to donate. It states clearly that “Repentance, Prayer and TZEDAKA can avert the evil decree”. This may be the best advertisement for donating to the Federation!
But today, I want to write about other parts of this prayer that I find extremely powerful. This year at Rosh Hashana, it shook me to my core because I think, unfortunately, I can better comprehend the words. It states:
“On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed – how many shall pass away and how many shall be born, who shall live and who shall die, who in good time, and who by an untimely death, who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by wild beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by earthquake and who by plague, who by strangulation and who by stoning, who shall have rest and who wander, who shall be at peace and who pursued, who shall be serene and who tormented, who shall become impoverished and who wealthy, who shall be debased, and who exalted.”(Translation from Sefaria)
When all of us recited these words last year at the beginning of 5779, none of us knew what would happen on October 27, 2018.
I write all of this merely to say that I, like many of you, continue to be effected after the attack of last year. Please take care of yourselves. The 10.27 Healing Partnership launched publicly this week with resources to assist. The Federation provided the initial funding and our colleagues at the JCC have played a major leadership role in helping to get it organized. You can read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
May your best days of this past year be your worst days of the year to come. Wishing you a Shana Tova and an easy but very meaningful fast.
Shabbat Shalom and Go Steelers!