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Thoughts on an awful week for the world

08/15/2021 04:05:33 PM

Aug15

Cantor Penny Kessler

Sunday, August 15, 2021/7 Elul 5781 - 2:30pm

Dear UJC families and friends,

My heart is breaking as I watch the local and national news this afternoon. Let me lay out details and offer thoughts on how we can help even in some small part.

Haiti:
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti yesterday. CNN reports that over 700 people are dead and 2,800 are injured (according to Haiti's civil protection agency). The quake destroyed 2,868 homes and damaged another 5,410. Hospitals are at the brink, and roads that would carry vital supplies are blocked. Meteorologists believe that tropical storm Grace will likely hit Haiti tomorrow. Haiti has seen more than its share of natural disasters. This country, which shares an island with the Dominican Republic, cannot seem to catch a break.
What we can do:
The challenge of making donations to support any disaster relief fund, especially in Haiti with its history of government corruption, is that too often all the funds do not make their way to those in need.  The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has established an Emergency Relief Fund to assist those affected by the earthquake  One hundred percent of the funds collected will provide aid and critical support to those in Haiti. Miami Jewish Federation has a proven track record of assisting crisis-hit areas. 

Afghanistan:
In the wake of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years, the Afghan government has collapsed. Afghani President Ashraf Ghani has left the country. Throughout the 20-year period of US involvement, it became obvious that there was no way for the US to help the Afghan government and military develop and maintain a stable democracy. The Taliban - known for its brutality, persecuting minorities, public executions of their opponents, severely limiting the rights of women, and destroying priceless artifacts - have retaken the country, including Kabul. They are already executing Afghanis, especially those who supported the US troops as translators and guides.
What we can do:
Please contact your US Senators and Representatives. President Biden has ordered thousands of US troops to go into Afghanistan to rescue Americans trapped there. Ask your senators and representatives to urge President Biden and the US Military to also rescue the thousands of Afghani allies whose lives are at serious risk if they remain in Afghanistan.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal:  https://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact
Sen. Chris Murphy:  https://www.murphy.senate.gov/contact
Rep. Jim Himes (4th District):  https://himes.house.gov/contact
Rep. Jahana Hayes (5th District):  https://hayes.house.gov/contact/email-me
 
COVID-19:
With the rapid spread of the even more dangerous COVID-19 Delta variant and 90 million Americans still unvaccinated, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins is warning unvaccinated Americans to get their shots and for everyone to go back to wearing masks as coronavirus case numbers have skyrocketed over the past month. CDC records show that there are now 129,701  daily new cases of COVID-19, up more then 700% from early July.
What we can do:
GET VACCINATED as soon as you are age eligible (12 years of age and older). Not only is there no Jewish exemption, there is in fact a religious mandate to be vaccinated. Pikuach nefesh, saving a life, extends to both ourselves and others. If not for yourself, then get vaccinated for the people around you, children, babies, men and women who are immunocompromised. 
WEAR A MASK in public indoor venues. Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, New Fairfield,  Redding, and Ridgefield have all issued mask mandates in indoor spaces.    

Let's try to allay some of the awful events happening around the world. 

L'shanah tovah tikateivun - may we be written in the Book of Life ...

Cantor Penny Kessler
cantor@unitedjewishcenter.org

Mon, January 24 2022 22 Sh'vat 5782