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A Shavuot Message: from Thanksgiving to Justice through Helping the Unsheltered

In Leviticus 23 immediately following the instructions for offering the first fruits at Shavuot is a reminder that in gathering our harvest we must leave some food available for those who rely on others to survive. In this way we are reminded that it is not enough to be grateful for what we have been given, we must also share what we have with those in need. Inseparable from Todah, thanksgiving, is Tzedakah, acts of justice. In giving we acknowledge the significance of having received and honor those who have made our success possible, while granting those we help the chance to nourish themselves and resist cycles of poverty and violence in the future. 

As we near the end of the omer count and our exploration of the seven sefirot, we channel their combined energy in our reception of the Torah. These same aspects require us to be mindful of our place in the cycle of giving and receiving material sustenance and human kindness. In consideration of our unhoused neighbors the Homeless Action Committee is seeking donations in the form of REI gift cards, clothing, blankets, tents, and more as well as donations of money and survival items to Love and Justice in the Streets. If any of the above is in your means or you’d like to get involved please reach out to the committee.

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The Weekly, Kehilla’s newsletter, is released every Thursday.