Do you remember how great it felt to receive a care package from home when you were away at camp or school? What if you were an active-duty US Jewish serviceman/woman during the season of Yom Tovim (Jewish Holidays) – rather than a camper or student? Can you imagine how lonely it must feel to be away from family and friends during such a special time of the year? Now imagine how that Jewish man/woman in uniform would appreciate receiving a care package before Rosh Hashanah.
For the second year in a row, Young Israel (YI) of Memphis played a role in lifting the spirits of some of our country’s brave Jewish troops, who were far away from a normal Yom Tov setting. Almost 10 years ago, I got to know Rabbi Shaul Rappeport who was then serving as an Orthodox rabbi in a small far-flung Pennsylvania community. Since then, Rabbi Rappeport has “switched pulpits,” and is now serving as a Chaplain in the US Air Force (USAF), stationed in San Antonio, Texas. After getting in touch with Captain (Rabbi) Rappeport, I confirmed that he would once again be more than happy to distribute Shanah Tovah Care Packages to Jewish servicemen/women on Young Israel’s behalf.
Just prior to Rosh Hashanah 5780/2019, in partnership with Memphis’ own Ricki’s Cookie Corner, YI sent Captain Rappeport 55 care packages of Ricki’s signature cookies and Challah rolls (along with notes from YI) to distribute to Jewish servicemen/women before the holidays –an increase from the 30 packages which YI sent in 2018. YI also sent a special gift of Challahs and a tin of cookies for Rabbi and Mrs. Rappeport and their children to enjoy over the Yom Tovim.
During a pre-Rosh Hashanah gathering, Rabbi Rappeport distributed all the care packages on YI’s behalf to some very appreciative Jewish USAF personnel. In a subsequent email to me, Captain Rappeport wrote: “Attached are some pictures of smiling airmen enjoying the treats your congregation sent. More than the delicious treats, the fact that Jews in Memphis were thinking of airmen whom they do not know directly meant so much to these young recruits spending their first holiday away from home. On their behalf – and mine as well – thank you so much!”
Young Israel of Memphis thanks Ricki’s Cookie Corner (www.rickiscookies.com) and all the generous sponsors who brought this heart-warming project to fruition.