Temple Isaiah was among the first five synagogues to join the Jewish World Watch, whose mission is to fight egregious acts against humanity. Through the Jewish World Watch, Temple Isaiah has raised money through special programming and selling green bracelets, to build water wells for refugees in Darfur, and contribute to a medical center. In the Iridimi refugee camp, most of the men have been slaughtered, and the women risk being raped or killed when they venture out of the camp to search for firewood. We had an event last year to raise money to buy solar cookers for the women there so they would never have to hunt for firewood again.
In October, 30 of us will be traveling to take one of our Torah scrolls to donate to a reform synagogue in Grodno, Belarus. Grodno is a city in the former Soviet Union that was over 60% Jewish prior to World War II. By the end of the war the population was reduced to almost zero. But thanks to the good work of the World Union for Progressive Judaism new reform Jewish communities are emerging throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe and South America.
We will be bringing their new scroll on Simchat Torah, the joyous celebration which concludes the annual cycle of the reading of Torah. The next morning we will join with the congregants of Temple Menorah as they celebrate 7 b'nai mitzvahs, 5 children and 2 adults who will read from their new Torah scroll for the very first time. The donation of this Torah was made possible through your generosity as you supported our Year of the Torah last year which resulted in our writing a new Torah for Temple Isaiah. I can't wait to see the faces of our fellow reform Jews in Belarus when they see their new Torah for the first time.
It should also be noted that when we visit the synagogue in Belarus we will be hosted by Rabbi Grisha Abromovitz. Rabbi Abromovitz is the only reform Rabbi for the country of Belarus. He travels from city to city, week after week, officiating at reform congregations. His salary is paid for by the World Union for Progressive Judaism which we are helping to support today through our giving.
We at Temple Isaiah are so blessed and so fortunate. We have so much and we are willing to share so much of our time and money with those in our city and the world.
By doing our part to repair the world we build within ourselves inner strength and pride knowing we are making a difference. We make a difference by consistently partnering with organizations around the world to create sustainable, powerful change; we give to our family of origin, our family at Temple Isaiah, and our family around the world. We give because this is how we receive. We receive strength knowing that we effect change; We receive pride in our reputation as a Temple of justice; we receive a spiritual home in Israel or in Grodno when our travels take us abroad; we receive a world that is more whole, filled with peace, justice, and compassion, with Torah, because we gave-because we continue to give. And we do this not only for ourselves, but for the future generations - so that they might inherit a world that is more whole and complete than when we received it.