Pesach is over. The busy swirl of Jewish holidays will end with Shavuot next month. The slow pace of summer days will follow. Schools and organizations will shut down. Synagogues will stop many of their activities. Their front office is often shuttered. The facility will only open for prayer services. Organizations are closed for vacation. They will reopen in the fall.
South Florida is especially effected by the phenomenon. We have many winter visitors – snowbirds, snowflakes, tourists and seasonal residents. There are communities that are almost emptied out during our long, hot summer. Our “season” is over.
Many congregations and individuals give generously through the winter months to various programs for those in need. There is a steady stream of worthy causes – kosher food banks, orphanages, help for sick children, yeshivot, shuls, and various never-ending emergencies – to fund. Our people are well aware of their collective obligations. Jews are truly, for the most part, their brothers’ keepers.
Needy individuals and families face many challenges during the summer months. Schools that provide lunch and even breakfast and snacks for hungry children are closed. Contributions for aliyahs or yahrzeits are down in shuls that have many of their congregants away. Chesed funds are empty.
Congregations, organizations and individuals recently participated in maos chitim appeals that insured a beautiful Passover holiday for the needy among us. However, all of us must be aware that need does not take summer vacations. It is present all year around and the summer is no exception.
All communities need to be aware and have summer contingency plans available.
About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.
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