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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
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It’s My Opinion: No Vacation From Need

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I have written on this topic for several years. Regrettably, the problem is still here and the message worth repeating.


The lazy relaxed days of summer are the conventional time for vacation. This is true not only for individuals, but for organizations and institutions as well. In many places and at many locations there is literally “no one at home.”


Synagogues often close the front office and only open for davening. Many rabbis and congregants are out-of-town. This lull is not a welcomed respite for those in need. When the doors of support services are shut, many suffer. It is, after all, a long hot summer.


Children in poor homes do not have school lunch and breakfast programs to supplement their diet during the summer. The price of food has gone up. Income has gone down. Many are out of work. There are families who can hardly put a meal on the table. People are hungry.


The need for air conditioning, especially for the frail, elderly, babies and children, is essential. No one would think that using heat in the midst of the freezing winter weather would be termed a luxury. Cooling in the brutal hot summer is also a necessity. The cost of electricity has soared. Unfortunately, every year we hear about the deaths of victims of heat waves.


The reality of today’s economic times is rather exceptional. There are people who, until recently, were doing quite well. They felt secure in their field of employment and with their investments. They thought they were safe. Then they crashed. From the outside, their homes look comfortable. From the inside, the cupboards are bare and the mortgage has not been paid.


Does your community have resources all-year-round to help those who are struggling? The grim reality, especially in these tough times, is that there is no vacation from need.

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.

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