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Message from the President
January is the time of year to do those indoor projects you’ve been planning or reading that book that is on the night stand as well as, I hope, this entire bulletin! It is also a time to reconnect with Jewish values. Mishpatim, the Torah portion for January 25, 2014 is a perfect place to begin.
This parashah is filled with mitzvot. In fact,“ justice for the stranger” is mentioned 2 times in this parashah, and it is found 36 times in the rest of the Torah. “Justice for the stranger” is mentioned more often than any other mitzvah.
Mishpatim teaches us
Protecting the weak, widow, orphan and stranger, as our rabbis teach us, is the touchstone of Biblical justice. After enslavement in Egypt, Jews became sensitive to the plight of orphans, widows and strangers in need of help, a tradition that has continued through our history to today. The Hebrew word for justice is tzedek, from which we derive the word tzedakah, synonymous with acts of charity for those in need...righteous giving.
Hadassah has always respected this mitzvah. For more than 100 years we have continued this tradition of tzedakah for those in need. Just stroll down the corridors of the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower and be amazed at the colorful variety of people who are visiting our clinics or other patients, seeking medical care. Consider the support we have given countless young people at risk through Youth Aliyah. Remember what we have accomplished in our myriad educational institutions, past and present. We have exemplified the highest level of tzedakah in helping those in need to become self-supporting members of society. Kol hakavod, Congratulations to our Hadassah chapters, for perpetuating Jewish values and traditions during difficult and challenging times.
I hope you are staying warm and safe during these short, cold days. Remember to celebrate the beginning of spring in Israel on Tu B’Shvat/January 16.
Before your calendars fill up, save the dates and set up carpools for Women's Empowerment in March, WNER's environment focused education day in April, and A Cause for Applause in May. Another special upcoming opportunity will be a visit by our national executive director Janice Weinman to WNER on march 9.
Sue Polansky, President
Western New England Region