ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Masks covered their mouths, but you could see the smiles through their eyes. B'nai Israel of St. Petersburg welcomed members as they drove up and sounded the Shofar to ring in Rosh Hashanah which starts on Friday.
"The times have been very difficult to say the least," said Sandy Brasch.
Brasch is one of several volunteers who helped members prepare to welcome the Jewish New Year. She handed out blue bags packed with goodies. Many haven't seen one another since social distancing was put in place.
"We are handing out gift bags handing out traditional items to make the holiday sweet for everyone, to share our excitement and positive attitude with everyone," Brasch shared.
As members received their bags, they handed back other bags full of food. The donations will be used to help feed the community through the Gulf Coast Food Pantry.
"People are feeling very isolated right now and I believe the need is greater than ever. What we gain back is more than we give, the feeling of satisfaction is immense and we are sharing the love," Brasch explained.
A need for togetherness and helping one another out has been felt throughout the community.
"Normally we’d have hundreds of people walking through these years and instead this year they are driving through the circle," said Rabbi Philip Weintraub.
Weintraub said the support is offered year-round but is needed more than ever in hoping a new year brings goodness to one another.
"We encourage people at the start of the year to make those contributions, to support not just our building our faith, but the entire St. Pete, Tampa community. We want to make a difference for not just ourselves but the entire community," Weintraub said.