Monday, June 01, 2020

In a time when media outlets are saturated with stories of violence and evil, it is important to hear stories about acts of kindness. In an egocentric society where we seem to focus on constant taking, it is heartwarming to realize those still practicing the art of giving. Institutions like The Frisch School and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School promote and cultivate a “culture of chesed,” where compassionate giving is the name of the game, and this week they gave hospital patients a unique gift unlike any other.

Both schools joined in a unique project of Chesed 24/7, an organization dedicated to servicing hospital patients and their families. The students were part of the innovative “Shabbos in a Box” Program—sending specialized care packages to patients stuck in hospitals over Shabbat, such as Columbia Medical Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Sloan Kettering.

“Shabbos in a Box” sends a bit of the warmth of Shabbat to patients from all walks of life and communities and comforts them with a little “taste of home.” Volunteers assemble Shabbat essentials and treats such as electric candlesticks, a challah cover and tablecloth, a bottle of grape juice, and more. Over 200 completed boxes are then delivered by Chesed 24/7 volunteers or hospital chaplains each week, giving patients and their families an emotional boost and the feeling that they are not alone.

It was incredible to have so many young students join together to be a part of the 24/7 operation, helping countless families who they had never met and learning how they could make a family’s stay at the hospital less overwhelming. They managed to collectively create and personalize over 175 boxes, enclosing sweet notes of hope in each box.

The “Shabbos in a Box” project joins many different schools and communities together in one common goal; helping those who are dealing with illnesses and medical crises. And that is a story worth sharing.