From our March 2013 newsletter, The Kol Tikvah
One year ago, I shared a message in this very newsletter about how we are commanded to the principle of “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” It is a major statement in our Passover seder. I wrote about how it is incumbent upon us as Jews to respond to those who are our modern-day “strangers” because we, too, were strangers in Egypt. And then I introduced the idea of Family Promise and its Interfaith Hospitality Network.
Our Board took on a courageous decision to agree to welcome up to four homeless families with no where to go into our “house” (the synagogue facility) for a week at a time. Yes, during the day, these individuals will be at work, school, or at the Family Promise Day Center in Dunwoody. But at night, our congregants will be volunteering to set up a safe place for them to rest, provide thoughtful dinners, stay overnight with them, and then help them with breakfast and bagged lunches.
We have now received our date to host and it is March 10, just two weeks before our Festival of Pesach. What an inspiring time for us – we remember our liberation from Egypt, and now… this very month, we get to liberate these families from THEIR EGYPT.
Modim Anachnu Lach – We thank you God! We thank you for giving us the vision and the resources to extend our hands the way You extended Your Hand to our ancestors who came before us. Thank you for showing us the small and large ways that we can make a difference in people’s lives. Guide us to do this work so we can walk in Your ways. This is our small part to bring healing to our broken world. Modim Anachnu Lach.
All of us since we were kids would celebrate the end of the Passover seder. Some of us would celebrate because the seder was over! Others might have celebrated that we would get to run to the front door and open the door for Elijah the Prophet. Our Tradition teaches that this great prophet was himself homeless and an advocate for the poor. Before he died, he announced that he would return once in every generation disguised as a poor oppressed person, arriving at the doors of Jewish homes. Elijah’s treatment would determine whether humanity had improved enough to expect the coming of the Messianic Age. In this way the rabbis taught us that any poor or homeless person might be Elijah!
So yes, let’s do our part. We are grateful for all who have signed up, all who have bought supplies, all who have made contributions to make sure we can host these people with care and dignity. Thank you for recognizing that these families also have God’s spark within them.
To learn more about our program and efforts, visit our web page at http://bethtikvah.com/social-action.
Here is a quick way to learn more directly from Family Promise: Family Promise Video.