Save a Life, Save a World

Oasis Songs: Musings from Rav D
Friday, April 23, 2021 / 11 Iyyar 5781

Summary: This week’s Oasis Songs is a joint letter from Rabbi Isaak and me asking you to consider supporting the life of little baby JoJo, who needs our caring tzedekah. Before that, I wanted to share some upcoming opportunities and provide a short reflection in the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin trial.

Reading Time: Three minutes


Through partnership with Multnomah County Public Health, Congregation Neveh Shalom has secured a limited number of COVID-19 vaccine appointment slots available for the community. The appointments are for Thursday, April 29, at 10:30am and 10:45am. For more information, view the sign-up form linked below.

Link to sign up:

Derek Chauvin and George Floyd

The nation and the world looked on with some relief as a Minneapolis jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of all three counts against him in the murder of George Floyd. One of the statements that the media repeated was that “finally there was justice for George Floyd.” While that is clearly shorthand for something more, we all know that the only justice for George Floyd would have been for him to remain alive. The justice we see and celebrate in the court’s decision is the hope to build an ever more perfect union. That requires that we have trust in the system, and that the system in turn acts in such a way as to inspire our trust. American trust in our government and institutions rests at around 16%, according to the research of sociologist Robert Putnam. There is much to be done. May we all find a way to participate in building the good society.

Earth Day

Yesterday marked Earth Day. In honor of that, my sermon tonight will focus on several Jewish reasons for protecting the Earth. Since people are motivated by different reasons, it is my hope that these perspectives will enrich your own understanding about why ecology matters. Often, it seems the reason given is to ensure human survival. More is at stake than our specie’s self interest. Our sources make that clear.

Save a Life, Save a World

וְכָל הַמְקַיֵּם נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, מַעֲלֶה עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב כְּאִלּוּ קִיֵּם עוֹלָם מָלֵא.

Everyone who saves a single life, it is considered as though they saved an entire world.
Mishnah Sanhedrin

Dear Neveh Shalom Family,

JoAnn Bezodis is a long-time member of our community and a member of our staff; she also has a granddaughter who needs our help. One of twin girls, Jojo was born prematurely with “multiple serious genetic anomalies.” Her diagnosis and prognosis are presented below.

Most immediately, this enthusiastic newborn has no kidney function and is sustained on dialysis. She “will need a kidney transplant soon to give her the best chance at surviving and living a quality life.”

Most of us have interacted with JoAnn in the numerous roles she has filled at Neveh Shalom. Currently she works with Mel Berwin as religious school administrator, but many of us may have benefited from her adult education classes. JoAnn has worked with sensitivity to arrange B’nai Mitzvah celebrations as well as funerals. She has been an active Neveh Shalom member for twenty years and raised her eight children here. She is also the administrator for the Oregon Board of Rabbis.

Jojo’s mom, Faith, celebrated her Bat Mitzvah at Neveh Shalom. She and her partner, Daniel, have already raised $7,500 of the $35,000 goal.

Our tradition believes that saving one life is counted as though saving an entire world because of the potential for new life. It is also because every soul carries an infinite and priceless divine spark.

Please follow the link below to see how you can help.

Rabbi David Kosak & Rabbi Daniel Isaak

Shabbat Table Talk

Please consider discussing your thoughts and feelings about the George Floyd trial, Earth Day, and President Biden’s climate plan.

If you’d like to continue this discussion, follow this link to CNS’s Facebook page to share your own perspectives on the topics raised in this week’s Oasis Songs. Comments will be moderated as necessary.

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