A note from the rabbi before Shabbat

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

The news this week has been difficult for a variety of reasons. In addition to the political and global happenings that may awaken our anxieties, there has also been sustained news coverage of two public figures who took their own lives.

When public figures end their lives, the 24-hour news cycle can become painful (and dangerous) for those who suffer from depression. If that is you, please know that you are not alone and that there are people who want to help you through.

For some of us, depression makes phone calls extra-difficult. That’s why there’s a Crisis Text Line – text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA to “speak” (via text) with a trained counselor. Or if you prefer phone, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is at 800-273-8255 — and the local acute care crisis line provided by the Brien Center is 800-252-0227. If you are struggling, please reach out: there are reasons to live, and people want to help you reach those reasons and hold on tight.

The prevalence of suicide in the national news right now can also be activating and painful for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. Be extra-kind to those whom you know to be in that position — for that matter, be extra-kind to everyone you can. For those in need, here is an online resource with links to help those feeling suicidal as well as family members, friends, and those for whom the news is triggering.

There’s an ancient Jewish custom of giving tzedakah before Shabbat. We give tzedakah (“charitable donations,” though the word tzedakah comes from a Hebrew root meaning justice) before Shabbat in order to prime the pump for Shabbat’s blessings to flow into creation. The Jewish mystical tradition teaches that when we give freely, we stimulate the flow of abundance into the world.

I’ve chosen to make my pre-Shabbat charitable donation this week to the Crisis Text Line. If you are in a position to make a donation before Shabbat, consider donating to an organization that helps those in this most profound kind of need. A short list is enclosed below.

May Shabbat bring comfort to all who mourn.

Blessings to all —

Rabbi Rachel



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