Want to help the tornado victims

Monday, May 2, 2011
Dear KI Family,
Today I was in Pleasant Grove. 

I stood and saw the ruins of people’s lives, the remnants of homes and lifetimes of memories.  In this place I encountered many who are in need.  I spoke to a little boy, 9 years old, who promised me, even through the tears, that he was not afraid during the storm.  I met a police officer who, though his own home was damaged, stood for hours helping his neighbors.  I met a pastor who  refused to stop his efforts even for sleep and meals.  I met people who cried and people who refused to let the pain show.  Over and over again I heard the same refrain: “this is just too big”.  The scope of the tragedy dwarfs even the immense capacity of an individual to cope.
I was not the strongest man in Pleasant Grove today, nor was I the man most capable of rebuilding; I was neither the wisest nor the bravest.  Despite this I had the privilege to sit with others in their time of pain.  We sat together and cried.  And together our capacity for confronting this tragedy expanded.
Over the next few days and maybe weeks we will be returning to Pleasant Grove.  I would like to invite a small number of you to join me each day.  There will be a bit of schlepping and a bit of sifting through rubble piles, the most important job though is to listen and comfort, we will pray with the survivors and we dwell with them in their moment of pain, we may even cry with them. We will assure them that we care for them and offer to help them in any way we can.  You don’t need to be skilled to hold a person’s hand and you don’t need to brilliant to hand someone a bottle of water you just need to be you, please join us. The spots are very limited for these visits as we do not wish to overwhelm the people we are going to help. AnRSVP form is on our website  - Please, no one under the age of eighteen!
Additionally, Rabbi Avi Weiss who was with us a few months ago for a Shabbaton will be joining our efforts.  Rav Avi spent time in Argentina after an attack on the Jewish community there, he spent days and days at ground zero on 9-11 and he visited those hurt in the Carmel forest fires and terrorist attacks in Israel.  Rav Avi is honored to join us in our efforts.  Tomorrow evening (Wed.) at 6:00 p.m. all are invited for an evening of prayer, discussion and preparation for these trips.  The evening will include dinner at the shul.  The suggested donation is $36 but there is no formal charge to attend.
On Wednesday morning, I along with Rabbi Weiss and possibly other area rabbis will lead small groups to Pleasant Grove. 
Lastly, we will be having Friday Nite Live at the shul this week; the cost is adults: $18 / Children 2-12 $10 / Families $45. Please let us know if you will be attending.
B'Vrakha (With Blessings),
Eytan Yammer
Knesseth Israel Congregation
Office (205) 969-5913
Cell (205) 201-0542
Home (205) 747-0168
Fax (205) 969-5913
3100 Overton Rd
Birmingham, AL 35223



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