Life Annoying vs. Life Threatening

What a challenging week when it comes to one of our basic necessities – water. If you live in or work in the city of Pittsburgh, you may have experienced the so called “flush and boil” order. At our Federation offices, we had to purchase bottled water for our meetings and cover up all our water fountains so no one would mistakenly drink from them.

Our inconveniences ranged from having to boil pots of water, being unable to use our dishwashers, not being able to brush our teeth with tap water, etc. It got me thinking about how, in the scheme of things, this inconvenience was just that – an inconvenience. My wife often would tell my children when something would negatively impact them that it was “life annoying” but not “life threatening”. It was to help them realize that we shouldn’t “sweat the small stuff”.

In the Former Soviet Union, we are helping to feed over 160,000 elderly Jews. Some of those I’ve visited in the past live in homes that actually lack running water. In many cases, we are able to provide home care to assist them, but not for everyone. Can you imagine having to go outside in the Russian winter to pump water as an older adult? In Israel, we helped renovate bomb shelters in Karmiel several years ago so that if/when they need to be used for a period of time, they are more comfortable for everyone. Here in Pittsburgh, through Jewish Family and Children’s Service, we help fund a program to financially help some of the neediest in our community. These are clear examples of addressing the life threatening.

In reality, because of your support, we assist with both the life threatening and the life annoying, trying to make life and Jewish life a bit more accessible and easier for everyone in our community.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom

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