I love the holiday of Sukkot. I love building our sukkah, eating in it and going to synagogue for services with my lulav and etrog. I’m especially excited for Sukkot this year because I need – no I require – to be doing something Jewishly and in person with someone beyond my household (no offense to my family). I streamed services on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and I missed the real sense of an in-person community. I wanted to be around tons of others in a place of Jewish practice. While we won’t have tons of people in our sukkah in order to adhere to social distancing, because we can be outdoors, we do plan on having a few friends over the course of the week.
We have all had to adapt to our new reality. I continue to be so impressed by the work of our eight beneficiary agencies. I hear from parents at our three Jewish day schools about the awesome job they are doing in educating our children in person while doing everything they can to keep everyone safe. Our seniors are being looked after with incredible compassion by the Jewish Association on Aging while the business of long-term senior care facilities across our nation continues to be a serious challenge. Jewish Family and Children’s Services, during Rosh Hashana, was able to provide every recipient of food from the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry with a challah thanks to a generous Federation donor, ensuring everyone could mark the new year. Hillel JUC distributed more meals to our college students on Rosh Hashana than they would have in a “normal” year of in person meals. Jewish Residential Services is doing everything it can to maintain connections to the Howard Levin Clubhouse members. The Jewish Community Center has so much of their operation up and running and I had a chance to see it in person a few weeks ago, from early childhood, the fitness center and the swimming pool.
Each of these agencies is doing what it can, and is even going beyond what it can, to keep their clients and members connected and cared for. Our Community Campaign provides each of them with flexible dollars to be used where they, the experts, know they are most needed. Thank you to you, our donors, for the role you play in enabling the unimaginable to be a reality. The importance of this 2021 Campaign has never been clearer.
In just a few hours, we will be wearing our warm clothing while sitting in our sukkah with friends at two different tables and reciting the kiddush and motzi. I can’t wait!
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Sameach.