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Oheb at the Isaiah house

07/28/2021 03:49:31 PM


Rabbi Abigail Treu

When I was in high school, I spent a large part of my time and energy helping people who were homeless. I helped organize a club at school which collected leftover and unused food from local supermarkets and restaurants and brought them to a local soup kitchen (we called it the Gleaners, taken from the Book of Ruth, though I admit I didn’t get the reference at the time). I spent a summer working at the Crisis Ministries, stocking shelves of the food pantry and learning the ropes of the office and doing phone intakes. I hung out with the pastor there and wondered what the Jewish equivalent of such work was. I suppose the seed of an idea was planted then, though again, I didn’t know it quite yet.

To be the Rabbi of Oheb Shalom Congregation, which houses a food pantry in the building, feels like a home-coming in this regard. The food pantry was one of the congregations “selling points,” and I look forward to joining with our social action and social justice teams in so many ways building from that foundation. I am deeply proud of the way this congregation uses our resources to help those in need. I am proud as well of the many Oheb members who take leadership roles at our partner organizations working towards social justice of all sorts.

On August 13, we have an opportunity to show up in support of one such communal effort. Isaiah House, the only comprehensive family shelter in Essex County, is hosting a daybreaker event to raise funds not only for its own work helping our most vulnerable community members but also to help in the effort of identifying the person or persons responsible for the tragic death of Columbia high school student Moussa Fofana last month. I will be there in my Oheb t-shirt and hope many of you will join me in this alternative morning minyan of sorts – one that connects us to the broader SOMA community and lifts up the Jewish imperative,  which we will read that very week in parashat shoftim: “tzedek tzedek tirdof” – “justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20).

1. SunUp with Isaiah House – In Support of the Justice for Moussa Fund: August 13

Join Rabbi Treu and Oheb members and Isaiah House board leaders Liz Kubany, Marci Silbert, and Louise Weingrod, at SunUp on August 13.

In the spirit of Daybreaker, the morning rave party that has taken off around the world, come celebrate at the first annual SunUp with us - an hour of yoga and meditation with Baker Street Yoga, followed by some very spirited dancing to the spins of local DJ - DJ Jen Jones - all to celebrate the day! Proceeds from this event (your ticket purchase is 100% tax deductible) will be donated to Isaiah House, a homeless shelter in East Orange that is near and dear to us in SOMA. Isaiah House leadership has also committed to donating a portion of our proceeds to the Justice for Moussa fund, which is working to find information about the person or persons responsible for the tragic death of our beloved community member, Moussa Fofana. Funds are available to support Oheb members who wish to participate but need assistance toward the Isaiah House fundraiser ticket price; email Rabbi Treu for confidential assistance.

Register here

Let us know you’re going so we can greet you as part of Team Oheb!

2. Soul Refresh: Shabbat Morning 8/14

With Elul upon us, we look to new ways to make contact with ourselves and work towards renewal from the inside out. In place of regular Shabbat morning services, join Rabbi Treu in Murnick Hall for singing and chanting, silence, Torah learning, and a soul refresh.

10 – 11:30 am

Please note that on-time arrival will make a difference to the experience for you and others. Followed by kiddush lunch to go / outside. Zoom link forthcoming

3. Slichot: Saturday 8/28

Re-encounter high holiday melodies from years past and learn new ones with Cantor Kissner and Rabbi Treu at slichot services, held per tradition the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah. Light dinner will be served (shabbat’s “third meal,” seudah shlishit) and we will conclude with havdalah.

6:30 – 8:30 pm

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784