November 29, 2022 •
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by Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg

One of the highest mitzvahs in Judaism is saving a life. The Talmud tells us (Sanhedrin 37a), “Whoever saves a single life is considered by Torah to have saved the whole world.’

There are many ways to help save lives, many of which we participate in at Temple B’nai Abraham through Mitzvah of the Month, giving blood, and other ways. I wish to bring two more to your attention.

The first is one very much needed by some people connected with our TBA family. It is becoming part of the bone marrow donor registry. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside your bones that produces blood cells. People with leukemia and other blood cancers need bone marrow transplants to survive.

clergy blog pic group hugUnfortunately, finding a matching donor can be very difficult. With bone marrow, only some are able to find a perfect match within their family. The rest must rely on the generosity of strangers. This is where the bone marrow registry comes in. By signing up, you could be the one to give someone the gift of life. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes.

Please sign up at both BeTheMatch.org and GiftOfLife.org.

The second is a way to help those whose lives may not be physically threatened in the short term but who have fallen on hard times and are trying to survive in impossible situations. It is in volunteering with and supporting Family Promise of Essex County (formerly the Interfaith Hospitality Network), an organization with which we at Temple B’nai Abraham have been in relationship for a decade. Their mission is to transform the lives of families experiencing homelessness. They provide a full spectrum of social services, including providing emergency shelter and securing permanent housing. Over this coming year, we will provide our community with opportunities to get involved. At this moment, we are looking for volunteers prepared to enter into long-term relationships with individuals and families to provide social support, connections, and mentoring through Family Promise’s new Circles program. With this involvement from across socio-economic lines, you could be the means by which a person climbs out of poverty.

For more information, check out Family Promise of Essex, and access the page on their Circles program at Family Promise Circles.

As we approach this new year and consider what we can do to have a better year ahead, let us consider taking these active steps to fulfill this fundamental mitzvah.

A sweet and healthy New Year to you all.

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