Messages from Rabbi Russo

January 22, 2016 - 12 Shevat

We are looking forward to Shabbat Shira this week as we read two poems. We read Shirat HaYam in the Torah reading, Parashat Bishallach, and in the Haftarah, we read Deborah's song.   
I want to focus on manna in this message, the sustaining food that God gives to the Israelites in the desert.  We learn about moderation and fair distribution of resources.  The Israelites run into trouble when they hoard or they take too little. The text explains (Exodus 16:17 - 19): "The Israelites did so, some gathering much, some little. But when they measured it by the omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no deficiency: they had gathered as much as they needed to eat."  God evens out the portions so that everyone has what they need to eat, not too much and not too little.  God provided two portions of manna on Friday so that the Israelites would have food for Shabbat.      
Today, it is much harder to ensure that everyone is provided with enough food. We are participating in People to People's program "It's In The Bag" to provide weekend meals for children from low-income families who get meals in school.  The students go to the after-school programs at the Nyack Center and Haverstraw Center.
We are collecting food items (the list follows below).  Please bring these food items to the synagogue during office hours on Tuesdays - Thursdays from 9 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 9 am to 2  pm.
We will be creating bags of food on Sunday, February 28, at 11 am.  Please join us with your children as there will be ways for everyone to be involved.  Our preschoolers can decorate the white paper bags; the Hebrew School students can write letters to the students receiving the food, and the adults will help sort the food into the bags. We envision this intergenerational program to be a learning experience for our community and a way we can give back to the larger Nyack and Haverstraw communities.
We will also need volunteers during the week to drop off the donations with us at People to People.  Last year we had a lot of fun with the preschool students at the food pantry there.    
We are collecting:
Oatmeal in individual packs
Single-serving cereal boxes
Cereal bars and graham crackers
Cans of tuna
Boxes of macaroni and cheese
Shelf-stable milk, plain and chocolate
Juice boxes
Chips packs
Cookie packs
Fruit cups
If you are interested in helping with the planning of this event and other social justice programming in the synagogue, please contact me or Dustin Hausner.  
Shabbat Shalom.