August 14, 2020
24 Av 5780
Dear Friends:

Shabbat Shalom!
The term gemilut hasasdim is translated as acts of loving-kindness. The notion of kindness is so old that you will find the sentiment 248 times in the Torah. It’s literally an act as old as time. 
As I have said, I am no scholar – I really didn’t embark on any sort of Torah study until my recent trip to Israel last November, but I did pay attention in Hebrew school and as a result of a good Jewish education starting in preschool,  we have a rule in our house – “be kind to others.”
I think it’s a good rule, especially when you are teaching a 5-year-old about sharing and co-existing with others as she heads off to kindergarten. It’s a simple rule and Nora is grasping it - for the most part. There is the occasional not wanting to share or being a tattle tale about something not even worth repeating. As her Abba I want her to feel empathy towards those who may be requesting her toy or have her really understand why a friend did something she thought she should tattle about. I know you all are thinking “good luck with that” - getting a 5-year-old to equate kindness within those contexts is a bit heady. And I agree, it is. But the sooner we start, I believe the more success we will have.

This week I have been unkind 9 times. I’ve started counting. I started counting because I have seen so much unkindness, I wanted to see how much I was contributing to the problem. We are entering a season where unkindness will be the norm. We will see politicians and others slander each other in the name of democracy. We can’t stop that unkindness, but we can counter act by being more kind to each other.

The Birmingham Jewish Community is one of the kindest communities I have ever lived in, so I know this request won’t be hard for many of you to honor. This Shabbat I am asking us all over the next few months to go “above and beyond” not only for the sake of our Jewish community, but the broader community as well. Together all of our small acts of kindness will make a world of difference to those in our lives and those who we tangentially touch.

I’ll close with a quote from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks- “Acts of kindness never die. They linger in the memory, giving life to other acts in return.”

Wishing you all a peaceful Shabbat and a week of kindness.

In the News
The Sidewalk Jewish Film Festival
The Sidewalk Jewish Film Festival will be November 16-22, 2020.
They are still in the planning stages and currently do not know exactly what the festival will look like this year, but safety, responsibility, and great films are the top priorities.

In the meantime, please join us at the Grand River Drive-In for the 22nd Annual Sidewalk Film Festival August 24th-30th.
See you soon!

If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Pinhas, Sidewalk Cinema Director
Israel Offers Aid to Lebanon after Beirut Explosions
After a massive explosion rocked Beirut last Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, "Israel has approached Lebanon through international security and diplomatic channels and has offered the Lebanese government medical and humanitarian assistance"
Israeli Hospitals Reach Out to Lebanon - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
  Dr. Masad Barhoum, director-general of the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, took to social networks and the radio to appeal in Arabic to Lebanese leaders to allow him to help in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion.
  "We have no agenda, there are no enemies in this situation," said Barhoum.
  Dr. Salman Zarka, head of Ziv Medical Center in Safed, also reached out to Lebanon. He noted that until 2000, his hospital treated Lebanese citizens on a regular basis.
  "Israel is ready to help. It's a shame that people will die for no reason."

  The Tel Aviv municipality building was lit up with the Lebanese flag on Wednesday in a show of support after the Beirut explosion.
"Humanity comes before any conflict, and our hearts are with the Lebanese people following this terrible disaster," said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Hulda.
Food For Thought– A Lunch and Learn
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, food insecurity has grown tremendously in the U.S. and all around the world. Please join us for a lunch and learn as we hear from representatives from Israel’s national food bank, our community food bank , and a gleaning organization in our community to hear about the steps they take to battle food insecurity and how you can help.
JCRC– A Conversation with Rabbi Jonathan Miller
As we witness the transformational movement to break down systemic racism in our nation, many Jews are struggling with questions about their place in the movement.

Rabbi Jonathan Miller will talk about our history and his past involvement building bridges with the Black community; and, how we can move forward to affect change together today. 

The Communal Kvell

Federations from across North America will be coming together for a program filled with inspiration, storytelling and entertainment.  This event will serve as an inspiring Kick Off for the Campaign Year and it will get people geared up to join us for JFNA’s first virtual GA!

Be inspired by how our Jewish community stepped up during the current crisis, at home and around the world. You and countless others have made this day possible. So what are you waiting for? Register for the event here!
Community Programs
Visit the community calendar for more details!
The Birmingham Jewish Federation