“How can I help?” When Sinai Temple and Sinai Akiba Academy sent out emails praying for those affected by the recent fires, there was an outpouring of love and support. Beds, meals, water, volunteers to make phone calls, assistance and donations to firefighters and first responders, the list goes on and on. Fortunately, very few people needed our services. However, in the case in which help was needed, this community was proactive in asking, “How can I help?” This is community. This is a synagogue.
I know this is true of so many people across Los Angeles. It was both heart wrenching and heart warming to see local synagogues house sifrei Torah of those synagogues located within the evacuation zones. No matter the circumstance, we are not a people that stands idle. We act, push forward, moving with faith and determination.
Midrash reminds us of the following: “The people of Israel are similar to a ship. If there is a hole in the lower hold, one does not say, ‘Only the lower hold has a hole in it.’ Rather they must immediately recognize that the ship is liable to sink and that they must repair the hole down below.” We are all connected. One injury, one evacuated person, one frightened child—it affects us all.
May we pray that the fires cease and those afflicted by the fires return to safe and secure homes. But likewise, let us pray that the flames of passion and responsibility that sit within our hearts continue to burn—strong and bright. Amen.