Shabbat Message 11/9/12

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 • Event Date: Dec 31, 1969

Brian Schreiber, JCC President and CEO
November 9, 2012 24 Heshvan, 5773

In Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), it is written, "anyone who works for the community, let your work with them be for the sake of heaven."
How fortunate we are in Pittsburgh that we have been able to serve community in a regular and routine way these past several weeks. So many of you have been transfixed with images from the east coast and concerned about family members and friends who are coping with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Many of our sister JCCs in New York and New Jersey are in the midst of real crisis, attempting to serve people while unable to operate their facilities at this time. Last week, a note from a close friend who operates a JCC in lower Manhattan captures the essence of so many: “All my sites are without power. One of my residential programs needed to be evacuated Sunday. I have two senior apartment buildings that have no power or water. We are all working remotely with staff on site in our residential programs Not fun. No sense of when power will be restored.”

Our hearts reach out to them and there are many ways to contribute support for those in need through the Jewish Federation’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund at 234 McKee Place, Pittsburgh PA 15213 or at

Yet, In the midst of our everyday JCC life, we still play a vital grass roots role in helping people and linking them to critical services right here in Pittsburgh. In these difficult times, our role in serving community becomes even more critical. I thank the members of our staff for their regular dedicated service and commitment to serving community. Their sense of values and purpose transform our community each and every day. An example of our care for community was brought to my attention over a situation last week:

“A young man came into our building and said he was homeless. He was soaking wet and his hands were ice cold. He had walked in the rain from the Waterfront to Squirrel Hill. Someone at one of the coffee shops suggested that he come to the JCC for help. He had no money or ID and no family or friends in Pittsburgh. I called RESOLVE (a mobile crisis unit) and they came about 3 hours later due to other emergencies. In the meantime, I made some calls to look for dry clothes. Jewish Family & Children’s Service contacted their refugee department and they found some dry clothes to fit a very tall (over 6 ft) man. Security personnel escorted the man to the locker room, while he took a hot shower and put on the dry clothes. We also got him a hot meal from the JCafe (the JCC’s congregate meal program). Later that day, RESOLVE assessed him and gave him a ride to their drop in shelter, where they assured him that they would be able to help connect him to the appropriate resources.”

It was wonderful to watch our staff and our partners work so closely and so quickly to help a stranger.That's our everyday value system in action.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom


Read previous Shabbat Messages here.