Posted November 2, 2012
Our beloved city has suffered massive destruction as a result of Sandy’s powerful winds and incomparable flooding. Tonight we will read from the Torah about the tale of the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities similarly destroyed. The reasons given for their demise are helpful in understanding the wonder of our own town.
Sodom and Gomorrah were renowned for their inhospitality, rampant corruption and prevailing injustice. To the contrary, New York City is a paragon of the best virtues communally expressed by millions of citizens living in close proximity. As a community we have weathered great tragedy and trauma before. We have no doubt that despite our current challenges we will together make it through to better days. We are resilient and we will take care of each other.
Yet for now we are mindful of all our citizens and neighbors who are suffering without electricity, elevator service, heat, or transportation. After the storm passed, we immediately called all congregants over the age of 80 as well as our Nursery School families and members over age 65 who live below 40th Street.
Nevertheless, we are still concerned about our members whom we couldn’t reach and hope that you might help us in communicating the information below. Because our office phones have been experiencing intermittent service, we have set up a cell phone number for those affected by the storm who may need to reach us: (646) 286-6956. Please use it for hurricane-related emergency purposes only. We remain accessible by email. For life cycle emergencies while our phone system is down, we continue to be reachable 24/7 at (347) 334-1043.
We have posted on our website some ways in which our members may help Sandy’s victims in the coming days. We have also established a Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund if you are so inclined to offer financial support. This fund includes a substantial donation from our own congregational budget. We will be forwarding funds to local synagogues that have been devastated and to institutions and shelters that are feeding and housing those who cannot yet return home.
Tonight we will gather for the celebration of Shabbat to both take account of our blessings and be communally mindful of those who are hurting. We are at our best when we stand shoulder to shoulder, so we look forward to seeing as many of you as are able to be with us tonight at 6:00 p.m. for Shabbat worship.
We wish you all a restful Shabbat and a better week ahead.
Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein
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