As the calendar draws to a close, we have the opportunity to look back at the year that was. In doing so, we see that on the one hand it was a year of normalcy (a novelty since the pandemic); yet on the other hand, our community experienced a year of unprecedented growth, a year where the world was torn asunder with the invasion of Ukraine, and we experienced the most gripping hurricane in recent history. Through the ups and downs, you, as a partner with our Chabad, were there for your brothers and sisters when they needed support.

You provided a hub of Jewish pride for dozens of children and teens, where they learn what it means to be Jewish; how to continue the Jewish future; and how to stand up against antisemitism.

You gave hope, supplies, food and comfort to the thousands of people left without walls after Hurricane Ian.

You welcomed hundreds of new families into our growing Jewish community, providing them with a connection to fellow Jews and to the land of Israel.

You may have seen some of these beautiful deeds in Chabad’s publications, but many more are hidden away in the hearts of the children, teens, and seniors you’ve touched. To this end, we present to you our 2022 Impact Report. Throughout the pages below, you will get a glimpse of the tremendous impact you’ve made: an impact we see on a daily basis, and one that will bear fruit for years to come. Thank you for being there for our community this year.

Support Chabad of Venice

“When you lose everything you have, you have the chance to see who, amongst all the people you know, can you really count on. My family, yes I call them family, at Chabad of Venice was on the phone with me when I could hardly speak; they were there for my friends and neighbors when policemen came to canoe them out of their homes, and they continue to be there for me and my family as we rebuild our lives. I don’t know where I would be today without Chabad”

You Were There for Sasha When The Walls Came Crashing Down

Most anyone who has come through the doors of Chabad has gotten to know Sasha. Those that haven’t, have nevertheless seen her work. Whether it be setting up an event or maintaining the Chabad facility, Sasha is the hands and legs of the day to day life at Chabad of Venice.

During the storm, Sasha was at home with her husband and 8 year old daughter. The rain began, the water level rose, and soon, the house was under water. At 3 PM, when the storm was at its worst, she had to evacuate her home and leave everything behind. When the rain subsided, they returned to find ABC reporters standing outside her street, and canoes transporting families and pets out of the wreckage

It’s at this juncture that you became the lifeline for Sasha and for her neighbors. You gave her the emergency funds she needed, you brought dozens of hot meals to her family and neighbors, and you delivered hundreds of essential supplies in care packages through the raging waters that flooded the streets.

You Gave Marty A Bar Mitzvah in the Hospital

Marty was a patient at Venice Hospital’s hospice unit who, feeling at a loss, asked urgently to speak to a Rabbi. The hospital called Rabbi Sholom as he was driving home from a class, and he turned his car around towards the hospital. Twenty minutes later, Marty, with a shaggy, white beard and downcast eyes was holding the Rabbi’s hand, struggling to speak.

“I’ve lost my faith,” exhaled Marty, “I’m a bad Jew.”

The Rabbi spoke gently to Marty, reassuring him of his inseparable connection to Hashem; how his loss of faith doesn’t cause Hashem’s to lose faith in him, and how for thousands of years, Hashem has held, and continues to hold, his neshama close like a father would hold his only son.

Though the Rabbi’s words caused Marty to raise his teary eyes, he only replied one thing: “I never had a Bar Mitzvah, and now in this hospital, it’s too late”

Without hesitating, Rabbi took out his grandfather’s tefillin, which he always brings with him, and began rolling up Marty’s sleeve. He told him “This is your bar mitzvah, and to Hashem, it doesn’t matter whether you're in a synagogue or a hospital. He just wants to be with you.”

As tears gathered on Marty’s eyes, the two said Shema. They cried. They sang. As Rabbi bid goodbye, Marty thanked him and said these words: “I feel as though I have my faith again.”

You gave Marty a friend at his final hour. You were there holding his hand. You gave him the light of hope when he needed it most.

You Rescued Chaim from the War and Gave Him a Home

This On February 24th when Russia began its assault on Ukraine, You were there for Chaim in his flight for safety. Abandoning their home and possessions, Chaim, his wife and son, and thousands of other Ukrainian Jews needed immediate funds to buy exorbitantly priced essentials, gas, and transportation onto limited, west-moving caravans. All sought to save themselves: to find refuge outside the border. One contact led to another, before a direct request for aid reached Chabad of Venice.

A digital fundraiser began, you stepped forth, and the funds were raised to rescue and personally relocate dozens of families. Whereas some stayed in nearby Moldova or Romania, Chaim’s family immigrated to America, and settled in our local community of North Port, where they became involved in

Chabad’s Jewish programs. Today, Chaim’s son is learning in a Jewish high school in Miami, living amongst boys who have only seen war on the television. You made a difference for Jews the world over, you cared for them when they had no one else, you welcomed a displaced family into the embrace of a Jewish community, and you gave a Jewish child the chance at a normal, peaceful life.

“Once the bombs began to fall, we were forced to evacuate with only a few suitcases. We felt like the sky was crumbling on top of us. A few hours later, when we received a message that a Chabad in the US is helping our group make it to the border, we couldn’t believe it. We thank G‑d for the people of Chabad of Venice & North Port, and we’re thankful to be a part of this tremendous community”