May 19, 2024
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May 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We recently experienced a new type of chesed that we were not accustomed to. I wonder how often any of us have thought about whether or not communities other than our own reach out to help people the way that the Jewish community does.

We pride ourselves on the bikur cholim groups which are in most cities. Last year as we exited from Lennox Hill Hospital one day, a lady approached us and asked us if we needed anything. We explained that we were just visiting and she wanted to make sure that we knew of the room provided by the Satmar Bikur Cholim where the fridges are checked daily to make sure that anyone who wants to avail himself of kosher food can do so.

We had the same experience in Montreal while attending to our daughter in the hospital; food was always available to us from the Bikur Cholim as well as an apartment for us to stay in.

We had friends who called Chaverim when they were accidentally locked out of their car and they immediately responded and helped out. Mordechai had a client who called to say that he was delayed for his appointment but would be there as quickly as possible as Chaverim were on the way to change his flat tire. (Who needs the AAA?)

Our daughter Chavie related an experience which she had while visiting a child in Sloane Kettering. Constant volunteers from Chai Lifeline came into the room with games, toys, books, and food for anyone who wanted it. In the next bed was a non-Jewish child attended to by her mother who was from out of town. They had no visitors. The Chai Lifeline volunteers frequently offered to play with this child as well. When Chavie spoke to the child’s mother she mentioned that she was sure that had they been in a hospital closer to home they also would have had visitors. At which point the child’s mother responded that their community did not reach out in the same way as the Jewish community.

While recently in Holy Name Hospital on her routine Bikur Cholim visit, Nina was asked by the roommate of the patient she was visiting if she could pray for her refuah. This patient was not Jewish. Today, in returning from shul, Nina was greeted by a neighbor who asked if we had prayed for her as well. Nina told the lady that prayer has no bounds and when she prays she includes everyone in her prayers. The woman was astounded. It reminded us of the day exactly seven years ago last week that our son-in-law in Rochester suffered something similar to sudden cardiac death and was admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital within an hour of another young Catholic mother of six who had been brought in with the same diagnosis. For days both families sat in families rooms opposite the ICU and each prayed for the recovery of their family member and for each other. When we returned to Montreal after this harrowing experience we continued in our minyan to daven for Margaret Lyons who did not have the amazing recovery that our son- in-law did have. Our prayer knew no bounds.

Having befriended our 91-year-old neighbor Anita, who mows her own lawn and shovels her own snow, we learned of an organization through the Bergenfield Volunteer Bureau. The group is called CHORE. They go to anyone’s home in the area and help to fix minor repairs. The only requisite is that you must be 60 in order to afford this service. Anita had no banister going down to her basement. They came, assessed the situation, and told her what needed to be done and what it would cost to buy the materials necessary to put up a banister. Total cost to Anita $43.00. When we called them to fix something in our home they arrived exactly on schedule. We were slightly embarrassed as three men arrived with their hammers, tools, and measuring tapes. They apologized because they are usually four in their group. Our repair was quite minimal. They immediately did their job, fixed what we needed, and the cost was nothing. They told us that if we wanted to we could send a donation to the Bergenfield Volunteer Organization. We were overwhelmed.

We started thinking about the organizations that we should be contributing to in this community that few people seem to know about. One that came to mind is the Food Pantry at 195 West Englewood behind the Party Plaza Building. We happened to come across it through our association with the Katz Family. Donations of food are needed on a regular basis—the difference from Shearit Haplate being that this is not cooked food but cans and packaged goods and distributed to anyone in the community.

Chesed should cross all lines, and our small recent experience made us aware of how vital it is for all of us to inculcate that into our daily lives.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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