Project Isaiah donations benefit Food Pantry

Historic City News asks you to join us in donating non-perishable food as part of Project Isaiah to be given to the St. Johns County Ecumenical Food Pantry.

The leadership of the First Congregation Sons of Israel, including Vice-President Bob Gerson, President Les Stern, and Treasurer Karen Stern, has been distributing empty grocery bags, contributed by Publix, with a description of the types of foods that should be donated during the High Holy Day period.

Rabbi Merrill Shapiro told Historic City News that worshipers are being called upon to gather up the non-perishable food they would ordinarily have eaten on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and bring that food to the synagogue for transfer to the St. Johns County Ecumenical Food Pantry.

The Yom Kippur program is called “Project Isaiah” and is an effort to put into action the words of the Prophet Isaiah saying, in Chapter 58, “This is my chosen fast…share your bread with the hungry, take the homeless into your home, clothe the naked and do not turn from people in need.”

During the morning service at First Congregation Sons of Israel, the reading from Isaiah, in the original Hebrew follows the reading of the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 16 directly from the scroll of the Law.

Yom Kippur is a 25-hour period of fasting and prayer beginning at sundown, Friday, October 7th. The day is devoted to introspection, a day to examine conduct during the past year and to make “mid-course corrections” to become better during the year ahead.

First Congregation Sons of Israel located on Cordova Street in St. Augustine, was organized in the late 19th century under the leadership of Jacob Tarlinsky. Until 1923, when the synagogue was dedicated, services were held in a private home on Bridge Street. Most of the members were from Russia and Eastern Europe seeking freedom from religious persecution.

St. Johns County Ecumenical Food Pantry is a consortium of 13 houses of worship that together provide emergency food for needy individuals and families in St. Johns County. Food Pantry clients cannot get food on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. Eligible clients are limited access to the Food Pantry once every three months. Even so, the Pantry distributed 126,000 pounds of food to nearly 3,000 families in 2010. Now in its 19th year, the Food Pantry is 100 percent funded by charitable donations of food and money. No tax dollars whatsoever are spent to support it.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph by Merrill Shapiro

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