From the Rabbi - March 2013 Print
Dear Friends:

I know that a good number of young people have peanut allergies, but I had no idea that so many of our members are lactose intolerant.  But I have had to conclude that this must be the case, since a vast number of you have avoided the cow who stands in our lobby.

You may remember that last year’s confirmation class created HOLY COW! as a way to collect money for the dairy needs of the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission on Alameda Street.  We have “milked” her twice, and we have proudly been able to transmit nearly $900.00 to the GSRM.  The gift that the confirmands gave to CBI was not only a gift that keeps on giving in the form of tzedakah, but also a gift that reminds all of us of a very important Jewish value.

One member of the congregation urged that we remove HOLY COW! because she thought it was ugly.  I disagree.  Hunger is ugly.  Homelessness is ugly.  Desperation and hopelessness are ugly.  Many of us are the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of impoverished immigrants who, in their own day, struggled incredibly hard just to survive.  Their poverty and distress were ugly, but fortunately they found ways to extricate themselves from the slums of urban ghettos and make a good life for their descendants.  In this process, they had devoted help from those who had come before them and who could now reach out the hand of rescue and relief.

Jews have always been noted for their philanthropic generosity.  We have helped our own brothers and sisters in need, and we have then extended our hands to others.  If we enjoy the life-style that others helped make possible for our families and for us, then it would seem selfish in the extreme not to offer the same assistance to others who are now in need.  If tzedakah once helped our families, then it is incumbent upon us to pay it forward by doing the same for the next generation of those less-fortunate than ourselves.  (By the way, Carole Murphree, Executive Director of GSRM, tells me that two-thirds of the residents there have full-time jobs, but they cannot afford to rent an apartment because of the scarcity of low-income housing in our city.)

So, next time you are in our lobby, fish out a little change and feed HOLY COW!   Get rid of your lactose intolerance and do a mitzvah to help our needful fellow citizens.  I am quite sure you’ll be mooo-ved by this simple act.

Sincerely yours,
Kenneth D. Roseman, Rabbi