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Erev Shabbat Message from Rabbi Adam Feldman

Dear Friends,                                                                                                          
 
One of the things I enjoy most about being a congregational Rabbi is helping our young people prepare for becoming B'nai Mitzvah. I meet with each student and his/her family a few times prior to the service and one of the things we work on together is the D'var Torah. The student begins by telling me a bit about their portion and we discuss how it can apply to their life. I usually add a bit to the story and eventually ask some questions to make the student think - to help them see the story from a different perspective including how it may apply to our contemporary lives.
 
This week, I met with the student who will become a Bar Mitzvah when we read Parashat Noah. He shared with me what he knew about the flood story and I shared some Midrashim that fill in the gaps in the story. As we were talking, together we started to think about the floods happening in our country today. We talked about the devastation from Hurricane Harvey that swept through Texas and the upcoming storm that is about to hit Florida.
 
I know that we are in the midst of Hurricane season that comes every year in the late summer and early autumn, but this year seems different. I never remember two devastating storms so close together. And these storms are hitting close to home. I have friends in Houston and family in Miami who need to evacuate, relocate and will be feeling the affects of these storms for quite some time.
 
As a family, we have had conversations in our home about ways that we can help the victims of the hurricanes - by sending tzedakah and by collecting things that are needed. There are so many agencies collecting funds including our local Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks as well as famous athletes, television stars and major companies organizing campaigns. I encourage everyone to find the right place and give to help the victims of these storms - the citizens of Texas, Louisiana and Florida who need our assistance.
 
I have also been in touch with the TJC leadership about things we can do as a congregation to help by working with organizations on the ground in these communities so that we can do our part to help rebuild their communities and their lives. We will know more when the communities are able to tell us what they need and how we can be of the most help.
 
As we begin Shabbat in a few hours and as we prepare for the High Holidays in a few weeks, I encourage all of us to add a prayer or two for the victims of these storms. In that light, I share with you this special prayer written by my colleague, Rabbi Naomi Levy, in Los Angeles CA.
 
A Prayer for Victims of a Hurricane
Are You watching, God? Have You seen the innocent swept away?
Are You listening God? Have You heard their cries?
Be with them, God. Be their strength and their comfort.
Let them know You are near.
 
Work through us, God. Teach us to be Your messengers on earth.
Wake us up. God, show us how to help.
Use us, God, shine through us, inspire us to rebuild the ruins.
Open our hearts so we can comfort the mourning.
Open our arms so we can extend our hands to those in need.


Shake us out of our complacency, God.
Be our guide, transform our helplessness into action,
Our generous intentions into charity,

turn the prayers of our souls into acts of kindness and compassion.
 
Amen.
  
I truly hope that the victims of these storms find solace, comfort, safety and hope and maybe will somehow see a rainbow to know of God's love and concern.
 
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Adam Feldman
Posted: 9/8/2017 2:17:12 PM by | with 0 comments

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