Our 60th PHC event is scheduled for Wednesday, September 23, which is also the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur. This date was not one we wanted. However, after a series of conversations about scheduling with the venue and internally about our participants’ needs, we decided to move forward with the date.
Below, Robert Bell talks about why he is choosing to volunteer with us on Yom Kippur.
Guest blog post by Robert Bell
I was having a spiritual quandary.
The date of the next Project Homeless Connect posed a dilemma for me and, I suspect, will for some of other volunteers, long-serving and new.
September 23, 2015 is also the 10th of Tishrei, 5776. This is the Day of Atonement for the Jewish people, Yom Kippur. It is the holiest day of the year for Jews. It is a day of repentance and prayer, a day of fasting and forgiveness.
I am a seven year volunteer with PHC and I am Jewish. You see my dilemma.
My initial reaction was, “Of course I can’t attend this PHC event. I have to be in synagogue that day praying to G-d, praying that He will forgive my transgressions against Him and against others.” My transgressions against Him and against others.
I simply couldn’t get that out of my head.
In my Jewish upbringing, I was taught we aren’t here for ourselves, we are here for others. That I cannot ask for G-d’s forgiveness unless I first ask forgiveness from others. That to be in service to other people is to be in service to G-d.
Volunteering with PHC over the years has made me a better person. More than anything else in my life, volunteering with PHC has strengthened my humanity, humbled me, and made me less judgmental. It’s made me a much more forgiving person.
My dilemma was becoming a lot less problematic. It was becoming obvious what I should do, what I needed to do. I have to spend this holiest of days not in synagogue but at the PHC event, in service to others. Everyone will, of course, have to come to their own decisions, but…
For me, and only for me, I’ve decided I will give service to my neighbors in need.
I’ve used a lot of “I” and “me” in sharing this thought process. But we know that this isn’t about me, and it’s not about you. It’s about the purest sense of giving of yourself and of being in service to others. Is this what brings you closer to G-d? Your higher power? Your beliefs?
When the time comes, whatever your decision, I wish you a very Sweet New Year and an Easy Fast.
What you do inspires others and me. Thank you for that!