September 6, 2017 | 15 Elul 5777
Dear Temple Shalom Family:
In just a few days, TS folks have contributed $3140 to the Hurricane Harvey fund being administered by my friend Rabbi Annie Belford of Houston's Temple Sinai. I am hoping we can raise $5400 or even $7200 before we are finished. As Annie writes, 31 families from her little community alone have been impacted, and at least three have lost everything. I'm sharing with you below a couple of her Facebook posts from the past few days. Please help if you haven't already and, if you have, thank you! Just send or drop off your checks made payable to "Temple Sinai-Hurricane Harvey Fund." Thanking you in advance, I am,
Rabbi John A. Franken
Sunday, Sept. 3
Shavua Tov to my amazing Temple Sinai family!
Yesterday was a hard day. I decided I need Shabbat - a real day of rest and renewal. But as soon as I stopped doing things, I started to cry. The level of devastation to our city and especially our side of town just continues to grow. We now have 31 families impacted by the floods. That is about 16% of our congregation.... It is heartbreaking.
Rabbi David Wolpe once wrote that when there are no words for what we are feeling, our tears come. So many tears came for me yesterday, because there are no words.
But today - it's a new week. Shavua Chadash. And it is going to be a good week - a shavua Tov. Because we are getting back to work now. We are going to stay in touch and stay in love. We are going to help in whatever way we can - ways large and small. We are going to try as best we can to get back to normal and when we need to cry or yell or curse we are gonna do that too. (All tzedakah box swear charges are officially suspended until further notice!). And we are going to do it all together.
We are Temple Sinai. We might be little, but we are loud, proud, and Texas strong - and we are in this together.
Sending love to all of you.
Tuesday, Sept. 5
Today I had another breakdown... from opening mail at Temple Sinai. We received hundreds of dollars of donations from friends and colleagues and strangers and envelope after envelope revealed another generous blessing. I burst into tears and couldn't stop. This storm and flood has unleashed so much pain. It has also unleashed so much generosity, support, acts of loving kindness - such that I've never seen before.
Fall on your knees and thank God for your eyesight....
There is still the pain, still the loss, still so much grief.
And sitting next to that is love and generosity and support and energy.
We can and will walk through this together!