In 2004, I moved to Cleveland, clad with a winter coat that more resembled a sleeping bag than any sort of shapely outerwear, nostalgic memories of a sun tan, and the phone number of some distant relatives. I knew no one else.
Shavuot, which begins on the evening of May 23, is also known as Chag HaBikkurim, which celebrates the season’s harvest of its first and best fruits. In ancient times, farmers would tie reeds around the first ripening fruits and grains in their fields. The designated produce, called bikkurim, was harvested upon ripening. Following harvest, the farmers made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem for Shavuot where each farmer presented his bikkurim to a priest. During the presentation ceremony the farmer thanked G-d for his sustenance provided by nature.
There is no greater mitzvah (good deed) than honoring those who came before us! Thank you to the many volunteers who joined together for our Jewish Volunteer Network (JVN) and Commission on Cemetery Preservation (COCP) annual Spring Cemetery Cleanup. From across the community, came young and old alike, spending their Sunday raking, pruning, and beautifying the 124 year-old Lansing Cemetery.
Robyn and Daniel Raskin had never seen a tzedakah box like it before. It was white. Flat. And made of construction paper. But since they started receiving books from PJ Library six years ago, mother and son are used to getting unexpected surprises delivered right to their door.
No words can adequately describe the suffering of those who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust firsthand. And, no words can adequately describe the heartache felt by the hundreds of Cleveland community members who join together each year to listen to survivors tell their stories at Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah, on Holocaust Remembrance Day. We created this video in partnership with Kol Israel Foundation to share the importance of Holocaust education. Today, children survivors are nearing the end of their lives and we won’t be able to hear their stories firsthand forever. Please watch and share as we say “Never Again.”
Passover is synonymous with cleaning, shopping, and cooking. With all of the physical preparations, however, it’s easy to arrive spent and exhausted to the Passover Seder, and lose track of what Passover is really about - the retelling of the miraculous emancipation of our ancestors from Egypt, and the celebration of our transformation from slaves to a self-determining nation of free men and women.