Shabbat Shalom and happy almost February, HaNegev! For me, the week leading up to this Shabbat most definitely merits a day devoted to rest – the city of Atlanta has been in an eternal stress as the city shut down basically all at once when one to two inches of snow hit Tuesday at around noon. And I know what you’re thinking: a) that’s basically no snow and b) snow day(s)!!!!! But we’ll get to how these past few days have been anything but blissful in Winter Wonderland…
This Shabbat we’ll be reading from parshat Terumah, which is the parsha that outlines the meticulous instructions on how the mobile Tabernacle (Mishkan) should be built. Each aliyah takes over a different section of the Tabernacle and then delves into how that section should be built, beginning with the Ark within the Mishkan to hold the Ten Commandments and ending with how the Mishkan’s courtyard should look. Clearly, this sanctuary-on-wheels was to be quite the elaborate thing, so where did the resources for it come from? No, we’re not about to see a manna re-run, where God sends down resources from the sky each day…the resources to build the Mishkan came right out of the pockets and abodes of the Israelites themselves!
Each Israelite is mandated in Terumah to donate something to the building of a communal space – a message that rang true this entire week throughout the streets of Atlanta. The untreated icy streets and highways elongated some 10 minute commutes home into 12 hours and longer. The city and state declared a state of emergency, especially as many students failed to make it home on school buses because of traffic, many cars were running low and gas and drivers needed to seek shelter for the evening. Community organizations and businesses Tuesday night began opening their doors for stranded commuters to gain access to warmth, food, drinks, and a place to sleep. Scroll through some of the links below to get an idea of what happens when snow hits the ‘Gev and things don’t go quite as planned:
Atlanta as a city came together this week, each person, home, organization, etc giving a piece of what they could offer as help to someone in need. No mandates were required here, and the communal city space of Atlanta is starting to thaw out and emerge from the aftermath of this week’s events as this Shabbat rolls in.
So to our friends in the Panhandle and above – stay warm and safe…but I suppose by now, that always applies to our friends down in South Florida 🙂
Have a restful Shabbat and a great start to your month, HaNegev!
HaNegev Regional Religion/Education Vice President 2013-2014