Now that we have hit the presidential primary season, candidates are repeating their annual campaign refrain, and telling us to ask ourselves, “Am I better off than I was last year?” Valid question. Wrong yardstick.
In a country where religion and community are the frameworks around which most Americans order their lives, I find it odd to advocate that we prioritize key decisions on “How I am doing” over what is best for us as a community and country. How is this consistent with Jewish values
On Yom Kippur, most Jews will gather together in community synagogues. And although it is natural and healthy to pray for ourselves and our families during this period of self-reflection, it’s no coincidence that the lion’s share of our liturgy is written in the plural: “Hear our voice,” “We have transgressed,” “Bring us health and peace.”
At Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward, as well as other social-service agencies, we believe our role in the “greater collective” is to identify the people who need the most help and do what we can to mobilize the community to assist them.
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Life is about helping people who require champions, such as women being abused by their spouses; people at risk of being evicted or already living in their cars; lonely seniors spending their years in “solitary confinement” in their apartments; families who must care for their developmentally disabled adult children with no respite or help from the state; and Holocaust survivors who need home-care aides and extra money for food.
This Yom Kippur, and throughout the primary season, consider holding yourselves and candidates accountable for making sure we all are better off next year.
Jacob Schreiber, CEO, Goodman JFS of Broward County, Plantation