What are Go Bags? They are large backpacks filled with medical and emergency equipment.
Why am I writing about them? Because this Sunday, a group of volunteers will be assembling about 500 of them.
Our Security Committee made the decision to provide this life saving equipment to EVERY classroom in Jewish Pittsburgh. Every classroom means every religious school, day school and preschool room used to educate our community’s children. This translates into approximately 500 bags, imprinted with the Federation logo and paid for by the Federation, being distributed throughout Western Pennsylvania. And we don’t stop with just distributing them, our Security Director will train our teachers and school administrators on how to use them in case of any type of emergency or incident. Oskar Schindler in the movie Schindler’s List takes literary liberty and loosely quotes the Talmud by saying that “Whoever saves a life, saves the entire world.” If we can save a life or even just help someone in distress, every penny we spend on these Go Bags will be worth it.
This past week, I attended a small gathering at the 10.27 Healing Partnership, the Resiliency Center located at the JCC in Squirrel Hill. It was a reunion, of sorts, for those of us who met weekly from soon after the shooting occurred for well over a year. Federation dollars helped to seed the establishment of this center and it is already being visited and utilized by many in our community. At the gathering this week, we formally dedicated the space by affixing four mezuzot on the doorposts of the offices. It was emotional as two of the survivors of the shooting fulfilled the mitzvah (commandment) of physically affixing the mezuzot. The other powerful part of that morning for me was learning that the four mezuzot used came from the Federation’s old offices at 234 McKee Place. Mezuzot that hung on a building that housed the Federation, an organization committed to building a cohesive and caring community, are now hanging in a center dedicated to the continued healing not just of the Jewish community, but of our entire region.
M’dor l’dor. From Generation to Generation.