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December 18, 2014 | 26th Kislev 5775

Letter from Rabbi Elyse Frishman to the members of The Barnert Temple

The following letter from Rabbi Elyse Frishman of The Barnert Temple Congregation B'nai Jeshurun of Franklin Lakes is reprinted with her permission.




Dear Friends,

The financial industry's news may have a devastating impact for our Barnert families, friends and neighbors, either because of investment losses or personal job security.

This is a challenging note to send, because most of us are very private about our financial circumstances. Yet, this may be a time of crisis for you. In addition to fear about the future, you may feel embarrassed or ashamed. We pray for the strength and wisdom to respond helpfully and appropriately to one another in this time of need.

The following Talmudic teachings suggest caution in our response to one another. From Bava Metzia, pages 58b-59b, these insights:

"Just as there is overreaching in buying and selling, so is there wrong done by words."

"One teaching recited before Rabbi Nachman bar Isaac was: 'He who publicly shames his neighbor is as though he shed blood.' Nachman responded, 'How true this is, because I have seen such shaming, the ruddiness departing from the cheeks and paleness taking over.'"

"And Rabbi Nathan taught, 'Do not taunt your neighbor with the blemish you yourself have.'"

Please know that I am here, as is our Caring Community, to help in any way we can. If you need or want, our employment network can be a support for business contacts and even coaching and resume development. Contact me, Peter Hong or Jeff Kagan. Our mental health team can direct you to someone in your insurance network; if you do not have insurance, we have other sources for support. Contact me directly. In both cases, if you want to contact me confidentially, I will guide accordingly, with deep respect for your privacy.

Of course, if you are entering a financial crisis, we want to ease your burden; please contact me or our Financial Secretary Larry Sobin confidentially, so that you do not need to be concerned about Barnert fees. You might feel awkward doing this, but we are always supporting people this way, without anyone knowing. It is part of our mission.

The most important thing we can offer you is non-judgmental and confidential support. We may not know exactly how. But please reach out if you are feeling overwhelmed.

With thoughts for us all during this challenging time,

Rabbi Elyse Frishman

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