September/October 2020


Our tiny Johnstown Jewry has survived so much and demonstrated such sheer, determined perseverance and utter resilience since the days of the founders. Floods, storms, epidemics, world wars, depression(s), the demise of retail, coal and steel industries etc. have all tested this community's mettle. While the recent outpouring of genuine love and support from our non-Jewish friends and neighbors was deeply gratifying, the tragedy of Tree of Life Pittsburgh still traumatically impacted our collective mindset. Dear Friends - with God's Will and Blessings we will overcome and move beyond this present challenge!  It has been a different and unfamiliar test lately, to try and maintain our Jewish community life with the current state of our limitations /restrictions. With the approach of 5781, (tavo alaynu berakha!) it is our fervent prayer that this be a year of Life, Health, Blessing and Joy for us and for ALL of God's children. Teshuva is most often understood as the arguous process of changing one's habits, practices and behaviors. We have all now experienced radical changes in our daily Halakha (behaviors) which have been imposed upon us by the new reality of life during Covid. Yet, I am grateful for the blessing of being able to remain connected with you via conference. Alas, how sorely we miss all the old, familiar hugs, handshakes, embraces and kisses which kept us "in touch" with dear ones. Instead, we must rely on telephone conference services. These, thankfully, have reached an attendance level of 20+ members!  ASHRAY-NU MAH TOV HELKAYNU. Please accept my sincerest apologies to those who joined our telephone conferences -- but whose presence was never acknowledged. We will continue the endeavor to perfect ways of communicating and keeping us ALL together. The wave of drastic new religious/ritual changes which began (so suddenly) last Passover, will surely continue coming our way and we will seek to anticipate and meet them creatively. Please join with us in this effort as we start the New Year.