Happy New Year
The High Holy Days are a period of introspection and reflection on the year that was. The last seven months have been anything but ordinary. So much has changed in our lives – our families, our communities, our jobs, our vacations, our relaxations, and our country. The reality in which we’re all living was unimaginable a year ago. We are living in uncharted territory, and it proves that as human beings, we are resilient, indomitable, flexible, and resourceful. We hope, we love, we proceed. Sometimes by giant leaps, sometimes by baby steps, and sometimes by just staying home and hunkering down. We will emerge from this pandemic. 2020 will be relegated to the history books, and we’ll all be telling generations to come about how we, as creative and resilient human beings, overcame and moved through such difficult times.
Whether it’s a pandemic, a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, or a fire, disasters have a way of bringing out the best in humanity. In her brilliant work, “A Paradise Built in Hell,” author Rebecca Solnit writes, “Disaster doesn’t sort us out by preferences; it drags us into emergencies that require we act, and act altruistically, bravely, and with initiative in order to survive or save the neighbors, no matter how we vote or what we do for a living.”
At NECHAMA, we have responded to emergencies altruistically, bravely, and with initiative for decades. So when the pandemic began, we knew what to do. We responded. We responded by donating over 4000 units of PPE from our warehouse surplus to local hospitals and distribution centers. We delivered much-needed food and supplies in Minnesota and the tri-state area. We identified needs, and worked to fill them.
A natural disaster does not care if we are in the middle of a pandemic, we continue the work that has defined us for twenty-seven years. We mobilized to help communities after the Michigan flooding, the Twin Cities, MN unrest, and the Iowa derecho (land hurricane). Even now, we are in Louisiana, where they experienced the strongest Hurricane in that state’s recorded history. The NECHAMA community carries on, as a vital relief organization, we continue to bring hope and comfort to our fellow human beings in distress year in and year out, pandemic or not.
Imagine for a moment, in a terrifying instant, realizing that you must start over an entire life, rebuild your home and your community, all devastated by a natural disaster. Every day, NECHAMA strives to be there for the individuals, families, communities, and small businesses impacted by a disaster, to help them start repairing the pieces of their lives.
The High Holy Days is all about starting over. During this time of year, we have the opportunity for new beginnings. To let go of the year that was, and to contemplate on the year ahead. Who do we want to be? How do we want to live? What do we value in our life? Please join us in supporting NEHCAMA, a committment to Tikkun Olam.
Yours in service,
Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, Previous Past Board President Rabbi Beau Shapiro, Board Member