by Rabbi Ari Sunshine
One of the most oft-cited passages from the Talmud is the text from Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 which focuses on the significance of God creating all humanity from Adam, a single human being. According to the text, this teaches us that all people have a common ancestor, that no one can claim “my ancestor was greater than yours,” and that destroying a single life is akin to destroying the entire world, while saving even one single life is as if we have saved a whole world. This profound message, that every person matters equally, is one that, even today, close to 2000 years after the Mishnah was compiled, we still often struggle with putting into practice.
This year our congregation has tried to live this teaching more fully in our community by starting the Ladder Project and helping David Corn transition from homelessness to independence. David has made great progress. He is living in his own apartment and working full time, and those of you who have met David and spent time with him can speak to how much he appreciates our caring about him and working with him. David does not feel alone, knowing that our Shearith community and his support network at the Bridge are there to assist him as he continues his journey, one day at a time. With patience, perseverance, compassion, and your support, we will continue partnering with David to fully achieve his goal. Then, we can work with another person , and then another after that.
David may no longer be alone, but unfortunately in the Dallas area there are still thousands of homeless individuals who are and who feel unnoticed and invisible to others. Next Thursday night, January 24, from 7 pm - 12 am, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) annual Homeless Count night will take place. That night, the MDHA provides opportunities in Dallas and Collin Counties for people to “better understand the extent of homelessness, changing trends, and the measure of success in making homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring.” 1,500 volunteers age 18+ are needed to participate in this important effort. You can use this link to the Eventbrite to sign up in teams of 3-5 or register individually and be assigned to a team. I hope you will consider taking part and making a statement on behalf of our shul and our Jewish community that everybody counts. #dallascounts2019
Shearith Israel clergy, staff and congregants share