It is Erev Shabbos Kodesh and time is short. I am writing to you as part of a group of connected Jews in Baltimore, North America, Europe and Eretz Yisrael. I just left a breakfast meeting at our local bagel shop. While there I met a women with her young daughters from Miami Beach. She, her husband, and young children just drove 18 hours through the night on their way to Lakewood. They stopped in Baltimore for shachris and breakfast. The woman looked shell shocked and I cannot describe the look of terror on the faces of her daughters.
Rabbosai, everyone is fixated on watching Hurricane Irma’s course. If predictions are correct, this will be the first direct hit on Broward County (Miami area) since 1947, when the population there was 90,000. Today it is 1.9 million. Added to this, Irma is a category 4 or 5 hurricane with immense power to destroy. Miami is one of the largest Jewish populations in the world today. While I am certain our communities will respond with relief efforts, we must band together to try to beseech Hashem to alter the course of the storm or at least mamtik the Din. We cannot sit passively as voyeurs. We must be actors in this crisis starting now. Kol Yisrael areivim zen lazeh. As one who is alive today as a result of spontaneous worldwide community tefilah, I can attest personally to the importance of such a response.
Accordingly, I respectfully suggest that we collectively organize in our communities worldwide around the clock tehillim, tefillos and mishmaros of learning for the zechus of acheinu Bais Yisrael who are in imminent danger of loss of life, limb and property. We should also collect tzedakkah for their merit. We also pray for the welfare of their Gentile neighbors who are created in the Tzelem Elokim. It is not by chance that such a storm is upon us in chodesh Elul just before Rosh Hashana. We should not estimate the power we have in the Kol Yaakov when we respond as a cohesive kehilla.
I urge you all to organize and act proactively and encourage others to do so.
A guten Erev Shabbos,