Dear Friends,

We think about the people of Houston and Florida and what they have endured. For so many, each day now presents an array of profound challenges-emotional, financial and psychological. Yes, we were all reminded that there are experiences in life over which we have little control, even as there is so much over which we have control. How we react to profound challenges and ordeals. How generous we become in responding to the needs of our fellow human beings. How courageous we become when faced with adversity and the trials that are a part of life.We think about the people of Houston and Florida and what they have endured. For so many, each day now presents an array of profound challenges-emotional, financial and psychological. Yes, we were all reminded that there are experiences in life over which we have little control, even as there is so much over which we have control. How we react to profound challenges and ordeals. How generous we become in responding to the needs of our fellow human beings. How courageous we become when faced with adversity and the trials that are a part of life.
                
As we approach our High Holydays, this is a time to not only emotionally embrace the people who have suffered so much, but to ask ourselves: “What might each of us do to better the human condition,” especially for those who have lost so much and now face the challenge of rebuilding their lives? 
                
What is needed most at the present time is money. And so our congregation is calling attention to the work of IsraAID, an Israeli disaster aid team that is in Houston and Florida and other places of the world, bringing relief supplies for the victims and specialists to provide psychological and emotional support. IsraAID has brought a team of debris and demolition specialists to help salvage homes that have been badly damaged, and to give hope to people who now face such harsh adversity and ordeal. We know that this organization is more than credible and worthy, as we know some of the people who make up IsraAID.  In fact, some members of our own congregation worked with these Israeli volunteers here in New York following Hurricane Sandy.  
                 
While we all make our own choices regarding charitable organizations that we support, if you are inclined to make a donation to IsraAid please go to https://www.israaid.co.il/donate. 
                
Especially at this time of year, we wish or pray for all of the people who have lost so much and who must now reestablish their lives.  We wish and pray for all good people who face any and all forms of serious adversity and who seek the strength and vision to rebuild their lives.  So appropriate are the words of our tradition: “Be strong and courageous, and may we strengthen one another.”

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg