I’m back. Where to begin. What can I say that has not been said, especially when the unthinkable became a reality? Actually, my thoughts turned to Thanksgiving. Why Thanksgiving? Because I have much to be thankful for, and recognize the things that really matter: family, friends, and an overwhelming amount of love. All of us affected by the horror of October 27 will respond in different ways. For me, just being able to sit in the same room with my family is immensely rewarding, something I was not certain I would ever have the opportunity to do again. That is why something so simple is so powerful and meaningful for me. But that is not enough.
I am grateful for the clothes I wear, the food I eat and the roof over my head. There are many in our community and beyond who cannot share in this. Of course it might be expected to give attention to oneself, but that is insufficient. To remain a part of the fabric of America and follow the words of the Torah, I must continue to be mindful of those in need. There are many, and the need is great.
I offer one simple yet meaningful gesture that can make an impact. When you gather around the table for your Thanksgiving meal, count the number of people seated with you, and donate that sum to an appropriate charity of your choice that answers the needs of the hungry. If you have eight people, donate eight dollars. Of course if the sum is too great, or, perhaps you might be in a position to donate more, I encourage you to give according to your comfort level. It is called tzedakah for an excellent reason: the root word, tzedek, means “righteousness”. It is the right thing to do, and you know that.
The needs of others did not disappear on October 27. They remained, and we must not forget them. Please give generously, so that one day all those in America can say that they have something to be thankful for, as I certainly do. Happy Thanksgiving.