COVID Can’t Stop Chesed

I write to you at an unpredictable and challenging moment — something our world has not seen in a century. Every few days brings up new issues and emotions to navigate.

One thing that’s become abundantly clear to me as we live with the public health, economic, and communal crises that surround us, is how interdependent we are as a Jewish community, and interdependent we are with the larger communities that we are part of. We exist together even when stand apart. As our Sages of blessed memory taught this lesson centuries ago in the Talmud that כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה Kol Israel Aruvim Zeh BaZeh, ‘All Israel is interconnected one with another’ (Talmud, Shevuot 39a).

This means that not only do we come from the same source, but that our lives and futures are interconnected. We need one another.

We continue to help and support one another and our community as a whole.

My heart has been lifted by the outpouring of support from our community asking, “How can we help?”

It’s helpful to know that these crises are a load we share and that we all play a part in supporting one another.

The community’s generosity and support has been amazing.

Here’s a recent story that just happened! (with names changed for privacy)

Recently, I was contacted by Joseph a member of our Pico Shul family who had lost their job. Single, without any savings, he had reached out to see if I knew of anything. I pointed him to our LA Job Listing page created at the suggestion of another member — but I also knew that I had to be on the lookout. A few days later, another member of our community David reached out and said, “I just heard that Sarah is hiring, maybe you know some people?”Immediately, I contacted Joseph and told him to reach out to Sarah ASAP. Then I called Sarah and gave a pitch for Joseph. When she heard that he needed a job she said, “I know him, I have had Shabbos Lunch with him at Pico Shul!” She hired him for the job that week.

I hope that together we can focus on getting through this crisis — and coming out stronger on the other end.

I know that since the Jewish community is resilient, caring, and capable of incredible Chesed, acts of loving kindness, I know that we will come through this stronger as a community.

Because #COVIDCantStopChesed.

If I can help you or your loved ones navigate the new normal in any way, please let me know.

Wishing you a Good Chodesh, a Good New Month of Elul, and may you and your loved ones be inscribed in the Book of Life for healthy and joyous New Year!

Peace and Blessings,

Rabbi Yonah

P.S. If you share on social media the stories that are about people doing good that inspires you, locally or anywhere else from your community that have inspired you, please use the #CovidCantStopCHESED hashtag so together we can spread a movement of generosity