From The Rabbi’s Study


Serving our congregants! This has been the goal of our Gemilut Chasadim meal delivery Program now for the past 14 years. During this time, our committee of coordinators and cooks has made more than 2500 calls to congregants who have experienced a loss in the family or who have a family member returning from the hospital. and during this period, our many committee members have coordinated, prepared and personally delivered more than 300 meals. We have had three goals: to take some of the meal-preparation pressure off families who are preoccupied with a disruption in their lives; to give concrete expression to our temple’s mission to be a “warm and welcoming congregation”; and to interact on a personal basis, one congregant to another. And though only one in eight families called actually wants a meal, everyone appreciates both the effort and the fact that their congregation has mounted an endeavor like this.

Gemilut Chasadim is a Hebrew phrase that means “Acts of Lovingkindness.” The phrase occurs throughout rabbinic literature, most memorably in a paragraph in the classic, ethical text known as Pirke Avot, the Sayings of the Fathers. the full paragraph reads: “The world stands on three pillars: on Torah, on Avodah (Prayer) and on acts of Lovingkindness.” Gemilut Chasadim are acts through which individuals reach out to other individuals, not indirectly with their money (this is Tzedakah) but directly … heart reaching out to heart, hand reaching out to hand, one person reaching out to another. We want, and are commanded to, be there for one another in our times of need.

Although this program has flourished now for these 14 years, many of our congregants, and especially those who have joined our congregation in recent years, are not aware that it exists. and so i am taking this opportunity to let you know that, if a meal would help ease a situation which has put pressure on your family … a situation created by a hospital stay or a death in the family… please do not hesitate to call my assistant, Cyndi Wilson at 216.455.1695 to let her know of your need. she will then put our process into motion and soon a member of our committee will contact you to make arrangements. in addition, if you know another Temple member who might have this kind of need but who may not know about our committee, do encourage them to call us.

Moreover, we are always looking for additional people to serve on our Gemilut Chasadim Committee as we expand the reach of our program. every time I speak with one of our volunteers, he or she tells me how gratifying it is to make personal contact with a congregant and to be able to help them out. if you are interested in serving on this committee … as a cook, a coordinator, or as someone willing to deliver a meal prepared by one of our cooks … call Cyndi Wilson. and if you think you might be interested in serving on the committee but are not quite sure, don’t hesitate to call me. i would be most happy to discuss the matter with you.

Our tradition values very highly those acts of kindness which we perform for others personally with our time and effort and without any expectation of reward or reciprocity. your temple is committed to serving you in this way.

In this life we all face moments of added pressure, and it is wonderful to know that there are people in our congregational family who can reach out and make a difference.

L’shalom, Rabbi Roger C. Klein