A Second Chance

In this week's Torah portion, B'haalot'cha, we read about the Passover sacrifice, which is to be offered at a specific time and place. With amazing insight, the Torah asks, What happens when we are not able to participate or fulfill important rituals as expected?

In an earlier time, this question referred to those who could not offer a sacrifice because they couldn't reach the Temple or didn't meet the required standards of purity. The Torah institutes a Second Passover - Pesach Sheni - one month later to offer these people a second chance.

Today, we no longer have a Temple and we offer the sacrifice of our prayers. But this ancient concept is still rich with meaning. Not all of us are ready or able to incorporate every aspect of our beautiful Jewish tradition into our daily lives. Some of us live far from a place of worship. Some of us are constrained by age, illness, or differing ability. Some of us aren't connected to the larger Jewish community and feel nervous about joining in. And all of us move at our own pace, follow our own unique inner voice, and seek meaning in our own way.

The Federation and its partners are taking direct action to make our Jewish community and traditions more welcoming for all of us:

  • The Jewish Association for Community Living (JCL) offers a range of supportive living environments for adults with intellectual disabilities. With support from Federation's Annual Campaign, JCL helps Jewish residents strengthen their connection to Jewish life and tradition through specially tailored Shabbat and Jewish holiday celebrations at home and in local synagogues.
  • The Mandell JCC, with the support of Federation, is finding creative ways to connect seniors and young families, as well as those with special needs, with their Jewish heritage.
  • With support from Federation, our Jewish Day Schools are investing in innovative educational approaches that inspire, challenge and enrich our children.
  • Our synagogues are trying fresh approaches to attract new members and deepen relationships with current members - bringing meaning, friendship, and support to both families and individuals.
  • As a community, we are opening our hearts to interfaith couples and families who are exploring or have chosen a Jewish path. For example, PJ Library, supported by Federation's Lions of Judah and managed by the Mandell JCC, provides free Jewish children's books and music to more than 900 Greater Hartford families. Up to 25% of these families are interfaith.

Federation and its partners take the lesson of Pesach Sheni very seriously. We want to ensure that anyone who wants to be part of the Jewish community can do so. With your help, we can broaden our reach, create more opportunities, and break down more barriers.

Shabbat Shalom.


Howard Sovronsky
President and CEO


Illustration credit © 2015 tagxedo.com


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