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Sunday, September 25, 2022
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We met under the cover of darkness in a location where most dare to go. I was fidgety but hopeful. He always has an air of confidence about him, and this night was no different.

I asked him for the money. He said,  “Come to my office tomorrow, there will be a check waiting.”

The next day I parked my car and met a woman who greeted me at the front door. She ushered me in through the back door at the emergency staircase. He handed me the $100,000. “You’ll get the other 50K in a few months.” I nodded and thanked him. He said it was the least he can do for the children.

There is hope my friends, there is hope indeed.

These stories really do happen, with real people posed as angels, at locations like Park Avenue and 46th. It happened to me this past week. A major structure at one of our important children’s facilities had broken down and needed immediate replacing. The cost was well into the six-figures and we needed help right away. In my role of Chief Development Officer I called him, as I was walking at 6 p.m. on Madison Avenue and 44th, and asked if I could possibly see him the next day. When he realized the urgency of the matter, and our bashert close proximity, he offered to meet me two blocks away at a local Starbucks.

I explained the situation, and when I asked him for $150,000 he didn’t flinch. He said yes on the spot. During our conversation, he took a call from the guy with whom he had the original appointment over on Park Avenue, and explained that something urgent came up and that he’d be 30 minutes late. He then hung up on the businessman and continued talking about the children. He asked me to stop by his office the next day and that $100,000 would be waiting for me.

Not wanting me to have to go through the security check at the entrance of his building, I was given the royal quick-entry via his Executive Assistant. “Anytime you need help you call me.”

Yes sir. Yes sir indeed.

Mosdot Chesed—charitable organizations—couldn’t survive without people like him. The $18 and $36 gifts in large quantities help immeasurably, but the angels keep us running, especially in a time of crisis. You will be happy to know, I am certain, they he and others like him are lurking around every corner and in every Jewish town. Sometimes they take a bit longer to reveal themselves—occasionally a bit too long unfortunately—but they show up…or rather, God sends them down.

I don’t mean for this to sound like the old “Tales of the Geonim” article in The Jewish Press, or a Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul book. It’s just that I’m in the mood to share some feel-good stories with you.

As I walked out of my meeting with the Angel of Park Avenue, I thought of the Tzaddeket of Cedar Lane.

Many years ago, while working for an Israeli organization during the second Intifada, I met a woman on Cedar Lane. She asked how the organization was doing. I told her the situation. She asked what our most pressing needs were. I told her what it was—an apparatus that cost $50,000.

Ten days later I received a letter from her at my office, no doubt written at a kitchen table on a piece of scrap paper. The contents were equivalent to the holy letters of the Torah written on animal parchment.

“Dear Robert, we were about to begin expansion on our home, and then I met you on the street. When we heard about our brothers and sisters in Israel in need, we didn’t have the heart to go forward with our expansion. Enclosed is our check for $50,000. Use it well. We have confidence that Hashem will provide us the opportunity to expand our home once gain in the near future.”

Do you need any more convincing? I believe in the power of goodwill. I believe in the fundamental goodness of mankind. I believe in the hope that the righteous will inherit the earth and overrun all evil. It may take time—maybe longer that we have patience for—but thanks to the Angel of Park Avenue and the Tzaddeket of Cedar Lane, I’m a believer.

To finish on a truly high note, I’d like to take the rest of my allotted space to wish a loving mazel tov to my son Jason, my bochur, on his engagement to Rebecca Fein, daughter of Sara Beth and Kevin Fein of Teaneck. Ya’aleh Hazivug Yafeh!—May they build a beautiful home together. Mazel tov to Jason’s mom, Renee, and her husband Doug, to the entire Fein family, and, of course, to my dear wife, Susie.

By Robert Katz

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