At recent Shabbat services, Baltimore-area congregations joined more than 125 churches in observance of the Purple Sabbath.
It wasn’t for the Ravens, though, and instead raised Alzheimer’s awareness, purple being the signature color of the Alzheimer’s Association. Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Temple Oheb Shalom, Beth El Congregation and Temple Emanuel of Baltimore encouraged members to attend services wearing purple and provided resources to learn about the disease and get involved with organizations working to find a cure.
Rabbi Rhoda Silverman of Temple Emanuel gave a Saturday morning sermon relating the story of Adam and Eve to the value of human brains and their functions. “Imagine if those processes slowly disappeared: the ability to remember even simple details, the ability to reason through a problem or dilemma, the ability to navigate in familiar surroundings — even in one’s own home, the ability to remember the histories of beloved family and friends, the ability to take care of basic personal needs,” she told congregants. “Having tasted knowledge, I can assure you, it wouldn’t be a return to Eden. And it isn’t for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
“The facts are stark. Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive — currently incurable — brain disease that, according to the NIH, is the most common cause of dementia in older adults,” she continued. “It not only impacts the individual suffering from the disease, but it brings with it extraordinary consequences and conditions for caregivers who most often are also immediate family members who are simultaneously dealing with the slow and progressive loss of their loved one.”
Silverman offered more information in the synagogue’s lobby and directed people to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, alz.org/maryland.
Cass Naugle, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Maryland Chapter, said such events allow the association to connect with caregivers.
“When a caregiver learns about the Alzheimer’s Association, they learn that they are not alone,” Naugle said in statement. “The programs and services that we offer provide support through all stages of the disease, and for those who aren’t affected, teach them about risk factors that could contribute to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”