Most of us have taken a financial hit in the past year and some months. You will be happy to know I am not going to ask you for money in this column. I have an ask and an offer, however.
First, the offer: the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has responded to the economic challenges facing our community with a pool of funds for those directly affected. The Community Crisis Assistance Fund and the Jim Joseph Foundation have made a large sum of money available for assistance to people immediately impacted by the damaged economy. (However, these funds are not for people in chronic need, for which other resources already exist.) To be clear, the funds will be distributed among the many DC-area congregations, which means our share will be necessarily limited. Our allocation will be available through the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund with the same confidentiality that applies to all assistance I can provide. The only “catch” is that the assistance must go directly to the creditor (landlord, pharmacy, bank, etc.) and not delivered as cash-in-hand.
Federation is often depicted as an impersonal bureaucracy with little concern for the real needs of individual local Jews. That notion has never been correct, no matter how many times it is repeated by people who don’t know the facts. But I hope this extraordinary act of lovingkindness puts to rest whatever attitudes might prevent you from being a donor to the annual appeal this winter. Your gift of any sum helps your neighbor next door, half-way around the beltway and on the other side of the world.
Second, the ask: This past summer I received an appeal from DCShares, a non-profit organization that recycles home medical equipment by making it available to people who might otherwise be stranded or immobilized. I asked if I could make this appeal to you after our holidays, and they replied that their need increases as the weather becomes more difficult to manage. Their needs include manual wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, movable railings that fit over a bathtub and all those things you needed during an incapacity that are just sitting in your attic or crawlspace. Devices should be clean and in good condition.
Please let me know directly (email@example.com) what equipment you have to donate; before Thanksgiving we will arrange a drop-off time at the synagogue and a pick-up by DCShares.
An ask and an offer – that’s what community is for.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has made a grant to the synagogue through its Community Crisis Assistance Fund to aid those people who have emergency needs with essential expenses. Please contact Rabbi Moline to discuss confidential assistance.