June 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
June 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Doctors Prescribe Chicken Soup for the Soul

“One of the outstanding deeds of my father’s life was that he prepared more than 50,000 Shabbat dinners for people who needed and appreciated the food,” said a man grieving for his father, speaking of the meritorious acts of his father’s life at a shiva minyan attended by Dr. David Lent, chief of surgery at St. John’s Riverside Hospital.

Hearing this man grieving for his father, and recount and value his father’s life—not in how much money he made, not in his possessions, not in how many vacations he took or where he traveled, not even in how much he loved and cherished his wife and family—but by declaring that the everlasting value of his father’s lifelong work was ensuring that others were not hungry inspired Lent and his wife Diane to dedicate their own efforts ensuring people not be hungry.

Dr. Lent’s work in Yonkers as a surgeon can restore people to a full and functioning life. He and his wife decided to generously donate a “substantial amount” monthly, which purchases all the ingredients for a weekly traditional kosher Shabbat meal, prepared by volunteers supervised by Chabad of Yonkers Rabbi Mendy Hurwitz, in the Chabad of Yonkers kitchen in the Greystone Jewish Center. Rabbi Hurwitz and his wife, Rebbetzin Chanie, and their older children, coordinate each week’s kosher food recipe planning and food purchasing, and oversee each Thursday’s cooking and food preparation. The food assistance program ignited by Dr. Lent currently serves 30 individuals, members of 13 Yonkers families who are alone, need food assistance, have been isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19 or are unable to shop. These people eagerly anticipate each week’s Friday delivery of a delicious kosher Shabbat dinner of challah, chicken soup with vegetables and matzoh balls; roast chicken with rice, potato kugel and dessert. The delicious roast chicken’s secret ingredients are paprika and garlic, simmered for about four hours.

Pirkei Avot says “every good deed encourages and leads to another good deed,” noted Rabbi Hurwitz, who saw that Dr. David and Diane Lent’s dedication to helping others spreads and increases good deeds. The food sharing program started last December after the holiday of Chanukah, and the light shed by this immense good deed has grown, and caused the recipients and their families to feel better, become healthier, take a greater interest in their religion, to attend synagogue religious services and events, and be reassured that they are linked to their Yonkers community and cared for by their neighbors.

Rabbi Hurwitz tells of one weekly meal delivery he made to an elderly recipient, where he saw that the food he delivered Friday of the previous week was still inside the refrigerator, unopened and untouched. The Rabbi called the Yonkers police, who performed a “wellness check,” and found the person inside, too weak to get out of bed, dehydrated, and not having eaten in a week. The human kindness of sharing food and visiting saved his life.

“We all need to feel connected, to be part of a caring community” said Rabbi Hurwitz, inviting all from the Yonkers community to participate.

The meals are delivered to a secure location at each person’s residence, both to assure their privacy and COVID safety for the volunteer and the recipient.

Rabbi Hurwitz welcomes more volunteers, including those interested in learning traditional Jewish Shabbat cooking, and helping with packing and delivery. Teenagers are welcome! Everyone can help by learning cooking, preparing, packaging food and helping deliver the free Shabbat meals, or with a financial donation. Please contact Chabad of Yonkers Rabbi Mendy Hurwitz at 914-963-8888 or email at [email protected].


 

Robert Kalfus has been winning prizes for his photographs since 1970, and was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He can be reached at [email protected] or 917 379-4165.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles