I don’t like sending out this message. I try to send it once a year and, whenever I do so, I hesitate because it’s not an uplifting message. But, it’s a necessary message.

Over the past several weeks, three members of our congregation have passed away. In addition, several of our families are presently mourning loved ones. Today, you will get an email informing you that another one of our families is now preparing for a funeral. I know you dread getting those emails. They are reminders that being part of a sacred community involves being there for each other not just for the happy celebrations but for the challenging moments as well.

As a synagogue family, we must comfort those among us who have experienced a loss. We need to reach out to fellow members who are in mourning by attending a shivah minyan, sending a note and/or working with our Mitzvah Committee to arrange for the delivery of meals to mourners. By reaching out to families at these challenging times, you make a huge difference. I thank those of you who go out of your way to lift up fellow congregants after a loss. There are many of you and for that I am so grateful. And I hope more of us follow your lead.

In addition to supporting fellow congregants through the loss of special people, it is imperative that each of us knows what to do if, G-d forbid, we experience a loss in our own family. None of us want to plan for or think about such a loss, but we don’t want to be unprepared at a time of such heartache. Therefore, I’m sharing with you What Do I Do Now – a packet I’ve prepared that includes detailed information on what to do when you experience a loss. Click here to access the packet. While you might want to ignore this information, I urge you to take a look at it. I hope that you’ll not need any of the information in the packet, but I also hope you’ll read through it . Please, don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or need some guidance navigating end-of-life issues. I am here to help you in any way.

On a much lighter note, I want to wish you all a restful, meaningful Shabbat. As Thanksgiving approaches we are going to be spending time during Friday night services talking about what our tradition has to teach us about the importance of saying “thank you” and expressing gratitude. I hope you will join us!

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