June 17, 2024
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June 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

In an age where the terms “giving thanks, grateful and hero” are inserted into our daily conversations, we would be remiss if we didn’t also acknowledge feelings of sadness, loss and even frustration. Some would even say this is a healthy way to live, as we are human beings who experience a full and diverse range of feelings (especially over the past 265 days).

In her column last week (“Choosing to Give Thanks,” November 26, 2020), Nina Glick wrote of her bewilderment at the ingratitude demonstrated by members of our community, most notably with regards to the free kosher food distribution each week. Her implication is that anything less than complete gratitude is uncalled for. While I am of course indebted to the many individuals who have worked tirelessly to provide food for families, many of whom are hurting financially right now, I believe that my peers and I are allowed to question the quality and variety of different food items we receive, and that this questioning does not negate the gratitude we feel for this communal service.

Most of us with children know well that five cans of green beans, a large bag of carrots, and smashed apples appeal very little to them. While I understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach to this food distribution, I also posit that if those providing the food truly have families with children in mind, they should consider tailoring the food to children’s likes and taste buds.

The well-known adage “There’s no such such thing as a free lunch” comes to my mind when thinking of this food distribution. While this is a great service to our community, the provider(s) of this food are also being paid for their services and provisions. These providers have, on many occasions, been asked privately to give more kid-friendly and practical options. While we may not be directly handing over our credit cards, the “funding” that is sustaining this service comes from taxpayers, and the provider(s) are being appropriately compensated. So while the author “laughs at others complaining about the free food,” I would ask her if she can first survey the parents of school-age children to ask how much of this free food is really being eaten and utilized by the families they purportedly service. While she might believe it’s easy for people to complain, I believe it is equally easy for people to dismiss the valid complaints of parents with children who have strong preferences for the food they eat, and which doesn’t include canned green beans and bruised fruit.

With regards to the “COVID” smachot, whether it included 50 people or was merely a Zoom affair in a parking lot, it would seem unfair to group these people as being “lucky individuals” together with those “being in the parsha.” One is allowed to feel happy for the joyous occasion while feeling saddened that this is not the way he/she envisioned. We are all tasked with different burdens and blessings in life, and one person’s sadness should not be measured or scaled by another person’s hardships or misfortune.

While the pandemic has shown me the kindness and generosity of friends and strangers alike, for which I too am grateful for, I am equally saddened over what it has taken away, including employment and celebrations with our families. We can “choose to give thanks” for all that is right, while acknowledging that it is OK to not always feel OK.

Aviva Farbowitz
Teaneck

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