We have always taken pride in how much goodness manifests itself from our community. Some acts of kindness are publicly known and many others are done in total obscurity. Outside of the Jewish world many have a difficult time understanding why we would become involved in causes that we hardly know about or people who are total strangers to us. As much as we would try to explain why or how we are doing a specific act, some friends would voice their concern over our involvement with those unknown to us. A good example was when we coordinated the Israeli Vendor Fair in Montreal during the Intifida. Arrangements had been made for all of the vendors to stay at the homes of local Montrealers. All of the hosts were acquaintances of ours, some Torah observant and others not. We asked the Israeli participants prior to their arrival whether or not they would be more comfortable staying in a Shomer Shabbat or a non-Shabbat-observing home. One day before the fair was about to begin and as we were working on getting things set up in Montreal’s Cavendish Mall, a lady who was scheduled to host Israeli guests ran over to Nina and said that she “could not do it.” She said that she had never had strangers staying with her and was too nervous to start at this point. She immediately pulled out her credit card and asked Nina to call any hotel downtown and arrange for her guests to be accommodated there. This is a glaring example of what those not living in the Torah-observant community do not understand about us. As an aside, the Israelis were delighted with their extra mini-vacation.
We are not aware of how many of you have had the opportunity to visit the rooms put aside in various hospitals throughout the New York City area to accommodate the needs of the kosher and/or Shomer Shabbat visitors spending countless hours in the hospital with their sick friends or relatives. We in Teaneck are greatly blessed by the cooperation of Holy Name Hospital, which has kindly allowed for two rooms to be allocated specifically to be used by bikur cholim. One room is specifically for people who need to be in the hospital over a chag or Shabbat and require sleeping accommodations, and the other provides all kinds of food, books, sefarim, newspapers, telephone chargers, hot drinks and snacks for anyone to avail themselves of. Last week as Nina was at Holy Name doing her bikur cholim duties she went into the latter room, which she does each week in order to make sure that it is well stocked, and for the first time she noticed something on the wall. It was a plaque noting that Eli Katz, former mayor of Teaneck and well-known entrepreneur in the community, had donated all of the appliances in the room. Who knew about that? There was no big hooplala. It was a true act of chesed. These are the acts that we in the community should take the most pride in and we are sure that there is so much that we do not know about.
There is an act of chesed that we could all do that quite frankly most people probably do not consider. We are as guilty as the rest. One day while Nina was visiting Dunkin Donuts she was chatting with Agnes, the hard -working proprietor of the store. Agnes mentioned how important it is for people to fill in the survey on the bottom of the receipts. Many people choose not to take the receipt; others throw it into the garbage or into a pocket until it is time to clean out our pockets for Pesach. Whoever would think that those surveys are vital to the store owners? Apparently they are very important. If each of us took a moment to go online and fill it out it would be of great service to “our” Dunkin Donuts. Let’s face it—it does enhance our community as a great addition.
Several days later Nina was chatting with the pharmacist in Walgreen’s on New Bridge Road. She was relating to him discussions that had taken place at The Link office about how he is specially thought of and how much he has helped people with advice about their drugs over the years. He was thrilled to hear what is being said about him but especially asked for Nina to pass on the message that if people would please fill out the survey on the bottom of their receipts from Walgreen’s pharmacy it would be of great help to him. How many of us actually ever thought of such a thing?
These are acts of chesed in disguise. It is definitely more difficult to do them than to actually thank a person face to face. One needs to take the time and sit at the computer and follow the necessary steps to fill these surveys out. Let’s show hakorat hatov to these “friends” in the community who are there for us when we need them. Take the time and check other receipts as well. Sending a message to Macy’s or any other store when a salesperson is helpful provides a powerful message of thanks and puts a smile on the recipients face. You may never see them again but it is a small act of chesed that might change a person’s life in a meaningful way.
By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick
Rabbi Dr Mordechai and Nina Glick lived the majority of their married life in Montreal. Dr Glick taught psychology at Champlain College and also had a private practice. He was the Rabbi of Congregation Ahavat Yisroel. Nina coordinated all Yachad activities in Montreal for fifteen years and was instrumental in the establishment of Maison Shalom, a religious group home for developmentally disabled young adults. The Glick’s were frequent speakers on marriage for the OU Marriage Retreats. They moved to Bergenfield four years ago in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren.