The recent tornadoes in Kentucky and eight other midwestern states that killed more than 90 people and destroyed thousands of homes have clearly reminded us all of the fragility of life and the importance of community. But we don’t have to watch the national news to know this or to put a face on the need of others or to inspire us to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. The story of Ben Yellin can accomplish all that and more, providing us with a unique opportunity to come together as a community to help one of our own families overcome unimaginable challenges.
Ben and Marcy Yellin have been making a difference in our congregation and our community since arriving here twenty-five years ago from Pennsylvania. Whether riding for 23 years in the Pan Mass Challenge to raise money for cancer research or supporting my alma mater of Camp Ramah in Palmer MA, or lobbying tirelessly for kids with disabilities, or founding our very own Ruach Rally Band, Ben and Marcy have been ever-present for all of us and examples of how to truly make a contribution to the community we all cherish.
You may have heard about their current challenges. I will frame it for you within a CSH context: After spending the high holy days at Shirat Hayam, Marcy, Ben and Jacob were at a break-fast of vaccinated Shirat members where Ben was proudly showing off his just-rehabbed knee replacement to all. For most of us, this was the last time we will ever see Ben walk. A week and a half later, Ben became a quadriplegic in a catastrophic bicycle accident.
You may be aware of the GoFundMe effort to raise money for the Yellin’s home repairs. You may have heard that Shir Chesed will be providing a meal train indefinitely when Ben returns home next month. I am writing you today to tell you that Congregation Shirat Hayam has a unique opportunity to support the Yellins in a critical way– through the skill and generosity of Karen and David Rosenberg. The Rosenberg family have found a wheelchair accessible van and are offering to match our congregation’s contributions to purchase and donate this van to the Yellins.
We have an incredible opportunity to come together with our synagogue family to make a life-changing difference for a family who needs our help. I know many of us have contributed to the Yellin’s GoFundMe campaign. And I know that many of us want to do more. Let us join with Karen and David to make this meaningful difference for this wonderful family. Help Shirat Hayam raise $40,000 by December 31. Please give generously to make this much-needed van a reality for the Yellins. Remember, every dollar you donate will be matched by the Rosenbergs, up to the full cost of the van. I know we are up to this challenge.
President, Congregation Shirat Hayam