Sunday, September 14, 2014

Removing the Evil Decree

Remembering Jerusalem was pretty easy to do these past few months. No need to rehash why. I spent a good part of the summer praying for the peace of Jerusalem (and the rest of our holy Land). And if you're reading this blog, you probably did, too.

Here, far from the front lines, we did what we could for our brethren across the Sea. We tried to be kind to each other as a merit for their safety, we opened our hearts and our wallets
and we supported Israel in word, action and a plethora of YouTube videos. (Click here for one of my favorites, albeit bittersweet. Hat tip to Cousin Bob for sharing.) We wanted to feel the pain of our brothers and sisters under fire. And we thanked G-d for His many miracles in the midst of the madness.

When my son's flight from Israel was cancelled (along with all the others in late July), the stress took on a different meaning in the context of having my personal life directly affected by the war. His delayed return meant that the seven of us would not be together even once this summer. (Thus, no family photo this year.) That disappointment helped me relate to a far more disrupted summertime in Israel.

One of the well-known verses of the High Holiday service reminds us that "repentance, prayer and charity will remove the evil decree". The war certainly gave us lots of  points in the prayer department. And at least as many for charity.
There were organized campaigns to provide everything from pizza to bulletproof vests for our soldiers and countless individual efforts to offer relief and respite to families most affected by the endless barrage of missile attacks. This poignant letter from the daughter of a dear friend of mine will give you a taste of what life was like in Israel this summer - and provide you with yet another charity opportunity.

The photos included in this post were taken on my winter trip to Israel. These are some of the tzedaka (charity) boxes that appear on the sidewalks of Jerusalem and other parts of the country. They have slots for money, clothing and sometimes even food. Charity is not just during war time. It is of high priority in Judaism in general; in Israel in particular. Volumes have been written on the Jewish way to "give". May we all merit to be "givers" and may the giving remove any evil in the decrees for the new year ahead.

As I type, the cease fire is holding. So what now? We'll keep praying, giving charity, trying to be kind to each other and thanking G-d for His many miracles. And maybe we'll Remember Jerusalem with a bit more love and longing even when all is quiet and peaceful there.

This is where I usually include my Rosh Hashanah poem. As much as I enjoy reflecting in rhyme, I'm thinking it may be getting old. If it's something you look forward to every year, click here and scroll down for the full text of years past. Had I added a new stanza for the new year, it surely would have been something about charity being sent back Home...and protecting us better than an iron dome!

Although there was no family photo this summer, the relatively recent pics below include us all - along with our warmest wishes to you and yours for good health, abundant happiness and true peace in 5775 and beyond.

Warmest New Year Wishes
from (l to r) Berel, Zevy, Bill and Simcha...

Note: Simcha donned his "white coat" when he started medical school last month. Attending his White Coat Ceremony in Florida was what we did on our summer vacation. And the palm trees almost made me feel like I was in Israel. (Almost.)

...(Berel, Simcha)... Shani and Yoel...

...and from Yours Truly (with Sim)