Millions of us in Florida and other states went through Hurricane Irma.
All areas around the rivers, creeks and ocean in Jacksonville were hit hard, as you saw on TV. Jacksonville was flooded at historic levels. Major buildings are unusable. Many neighborhoods were and are flooded. Many still do not have power and cannot stay in their homes.
Our own neighborhood was hard hit by wind and driving rain, uprooting giant oak trees, pulling down power lines and poles, and destroying roofs and other structures. Streets are clogged and lined with fallen trees, debris, and downed power lines.
But as those who have experienced a threat of extreme danger, we want to take time this Shabbat to thank the Lord that we were rescued from great harm and loss of life.
Our Shabbat Services will focus on a timely text from this week’s Haftorah reading.
7I will recall the lovingkindness of the Lord and the praises of Adonai, because of all that Adonai has granted us and his great goodness toward Beth Israel לְבֵית יִשְׂרָאֵל (the house of Israel), which he bestowed on them in keeping with his mercy, in keeping with the greatness of his compassion. 8 For he said, “They are indeed my people, children who are not disloyal.” So, he became their Savior. 9 In all their troubles he was troubled; then the Angel of His Presence saved them; in his love and compassionate empathy, he redeemed them.
We will also take time for a traditional Hebrew prayer of Thanksgiving, Birkat HaGomel, thanking God for his kindness and deliverance.
Transliteration: Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, ha-gomel l’chayavim tovot sheg’malani kol tov.
Translation: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who rewards the undeserving sinner with goodness, and who has granted me all goodness.
On Saturday after the Shabbat Service, we will connect with each other during a Bagel Oneg in the Shalom Center, eating and fellowshipping together, and encouraging and supporting one another.
We look forward to being with you this Shabbat!
Rabbi David Levine