How to help R’ Weiner and his family after the fire

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

As you may have read in this morning’s Berkshire Eagle, there was a devastating fire last evening at the family home of Rabbi David Weiner, who serves Knesset Israel in Pittsfield. Thankfully the Weiner family is okay; they are currently staying with a KI congregant.

KI is in the process of setting up an emergency fund for donations to help the Weiner family replace the many necessary items they need while they put their life back together.

Anyone who wishes may make a donation by going to knessetisrael.org or by sending a check to Congregation Knesset Israel, 16 Colt Road, Pittsfield, MA 01201 (please write “Emergency Fund” on the envelope and in the check memo.)

You can also check the KI website beginning next week for a list of donated items to replace items lost in the fire.

I’m grateful that Rabbi Weiner, his wife Judith, and their three children are okay — but my heart aches for them as they prepare to rebuild their home and their life, having lost so many items to fire, smoke, and water damage. If you are able to make a donation, either of money or of physical objects (especially once their list of needed items is online next week), I know it would be much appreciated.

Our sages teach that there is extra merit in giving tzedakah before Shabbat. Both because in the traditional paradigm one doesn’t carry money on Shabbat (and so one can’t give money on the day itself), and because giving a free offering of our hearts is a way of opening ourselves to receive the influx of blessing which Shabbat can provide. Please keep the Weiners in mind this Shabbat, and in days to come.

Take care and Shabbat shalom,

Reb Rachel

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