So much happening and constantly. Isn't it good to take a day to step back and focus, not on the struggles of our world, but on those things in our lives for which we can be grateful? Actually, as Jews, we have this ability one day a week. Shabbat is that time to be with family, friends and community. It is certainly more than okay that, as Americans, we take this opportunity to make this one day called Thanksgiving something different.
One way is to acknowledge that not all Americans see this as a happy holiday. For Native Americans it is a reminder of the complex and painful history of the arrival of the Europeans onto this continent and the loss of their lands.
For many Californians, this Thanksgiving is filled with pain as the thousands ravaged by fires are trying to figure out next steps for their lives.While we have had the side effects of unhealthy air, so many people have lost lives and homes and businesses. We won't know the totals of this devastation for a long time. One way for us to acknowledge our gratitude for the life that we have is to offer funds to help the recovery in Butte County. Donations are being accepted by the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region as direct aid to the victims. If you wish to donate, you can click here.
Another option is the North Valley Community Foundation in Chico. You can donate there by clicking here.
This evening our B'nai Israel Jewish Center community will be joining with churches and the Islamic Center for an interfaith service. We will be meeting at St. John's Episcopal Church (40 5th Street) at 7 p.m. A potluck dessert reception will follow. For the many of you who joined for our open Shabbat service on November 3, here is another chance to be in solidarity with those who stood with us following the Tree of Life tragedy.
Where is gratitude in all of this...the gift of precious life, our family and friends, and our Jewish community with its centuries of resilience in the face of life's challenges.
I hope that all of you have a chance to reflect on this holiday weekend. The best sale items in these coming days will likely be found in what we already have.
Rabbi Ted Feldman