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The world is built with kindness

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					                July / August 2010/5770 • Vol. 52 No. 2




   The world
is built with
     kindness
                                              “T
                                                                                                               ,       NCyi...aT WorK
                                                           ,                                                           For THe orTHoDoX
                                          T            -       J      ;                                J               JeWIsH CoMMunITY
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4 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
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era  tor and see
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                                                                                                                                            8
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                                                                                                                                    Chesed Shel Emes
                                                                                                                                         Rabbi Moshe Taub

                                                                                                                                        10
                                                                                                                              Reminiscences of a Doula
                                                                                                                                              Liat Katz

                                                                                                                                        12
                                                                                                                             Making The Worst of Times
                                                                                                                                   A Bit Better
                                                                                                                                          Sarah Spielman

                                                                                                                                        15
                      YOUNG ISRAEL OF TEANECK
                                                                                                                        Spiritual Investing: Bikur Cholim
                                                                                                                                          Esther Altmann

                                                                                                                                          17
                                                                                                                                     Infertility:
                                                                                                                            A Challenge to our Community
                                                                                                                                      Rabbi Gideon Weitzman
                                                              YOUNG ISRAEL OF GREAT NECK
                                                            YOUNG ISRAEL OF WEST HEMPSTEAD
                                                                                                                                         20
                                                    www.jeii.com                                                             The Ripple Effect of Chesed
                                                                                                                                          Esther Altmann
6 • NATIONAL COUNCIL OF YOUNG ISRAEL  VIEWPOINT SUMMER 5770/2010
                             From the Editor :                                               tice of chesed are often characterized
                                                                                             by a certain turn of mind – their special
                                                                                             awareness to problems that may be ob-
                             Chesed is certainly nothing novel or new to                     vious, but which escape the attention
                             the Jewish community. So intrinsic is it to our                 of the rest of us, allowing them to hone
                             world view that it is described as one of the pil-              in on the needs of their fellow humans.
                                                                                             Their creativity lies in their ingenious
                             lars upon which the world stands. Every Jewish                  ways of finding solutions, in their abil-
                             child is instilled with the importance of chesed                ity to look at a situation, assess the pos-
                             in word and action from the cradle, through                     sibilities for action and then, act upon
                                                                                             it. These traits – the ability to see and
                             the school years and into adulthood. And every                  assess need and the confidence to act
                             Jewish community throughout our history has                     upon it - are the hallmarks of our con-
                             made it a priority to provide for the needs of its              tributors.
                                                                                                  We were inspired reading these ac-
                             congregants throughout life’s cycles.                           counts. There is always some chesed




W
                                                                                             that is easily doable for each of us if we
                             e have or-       sue of Viewpoint offer some examples           keep our eyes open and our hearts will-
                             ganizations      of how our fellow Jews practice chesed,        ing to reach out. Perhaps in these con-
                             and societ-      while performing “tikkun olam” and             fusing and complex times, we should
                             ies to care      enhancing their own lives at the same          to take another look at the mitzvah of
                             for the sick,    time. Many of our contributors have            chesed - what makes it work and how
                             to    dower      noted that chesed, to be effective, does       we fit in, and perhaps we can gain a
                             poor brides      not need to be a “grand gesture.” Even         refreshed appreciation of ourselves vis
and to bury the indigent. In recent           something as simple as a kind remark           a vis the eternal and true values of our
years, the number of charitable en-           or a smile can make a huge difference.         lives as Torah-observant Jews. What
deavors has skyrocketed. The number               We can all recall simple kindnesses        can we contribute and what tangible
of “gemachs” (acronym for “gemilut            that still tug at our hearts after years       changes are we able to work in our own
chasodim” – loving kindness) is – seem-       have past. Many years ago I was con-           worlds to affect ourselves and others in
ingly numberless – as these free-loan         fined to a hospital bed during a high-         meaningful ways? 
societies have proliferated in every          risk pregnancy. I felt so helpless and
Jewish community. Today, it is possible       sad when my 2 1/2 year old son would               Esther Altmann
to borrow from a “gemach” everything          visit me and I was unable to do some-              Editor, NCYI Viewpoint
from wedding dresses to children’s            thing special for him. I still smile when
toys, to “typing for teachers” (a free        I remember the dishes of red jello that
service), to school uniforms. Even wed-
ding music and photography are of-
                                              the Bikur Cholim volunteer (Chava
                                              Rose, who now directs the Bikur Cho-                Invitations
fered, as is lodging for your wedding
guests, and don’t forget the availability
                                              lim organization in that hospital. See
                                              page 15) left in the hospital refrigera-
                                                                                                     plus
                                                                                                                              te lines
of free loans to help pay for the sim-        tor for people who needed clear diets.                America’s most exquisi
cha! There is even a special “gemach”         This shimmery dish of jello was an ex-                of invitations, anno uncements,
                                                                                                                         ry, commercial
                                                                                                  personalized stationa
where, in a pinch, one can obtain medi-       citing treat that I could offer my little
                                                                                                                                 nary.
                                                                                                       and professional statio
cations on Shabbat.                           boy, who was delighted. That gesture
    Whereas we have occasion to be-           restored to me a sense of agency and
                                                                                                                          e of accessories,
rate ourselves for the shortcomings of        capacity that was taken away simply by              We also offer a full lin
                                                                                                                              ot, zemirot,
our community that crop up from time          my “patient status.”                                 including imprinted kip
                                                                                                                             w Year cards.
to time, when it comes to chesed, we              What struck home to us is that it’s
                                                                                                   benchers & Hebrew Ne
have every reason to pride ourselves
on this wonderful living example of
                                              not all that difficult, not all that time-
                                              consuming nor exhausting to do the                          DISCOUNTED
our tradition at its best. The tradition is   mitzvah of chesed. A commitment                               Sun. 10 am - 2 pm
                                                                                                                               8 pm
alive and well in our communities and         to doing chesed can and should be                          Mon - Thurs. 3 pm -
                                                                                                          600 W  est 246th Street
the extent to which chesed is practiced       something within our comfort zone,                                                 1
in the Orthodox community is a won-           and we need not feel overburdened or                          Riverdale, NY 1047
der, an inspiration and a beacon of light     stretched too thin in the doing.                                 718-548-3900
                                                                                                                        call: 800-INV-PLUS
to other Jews and to the world at large.          Certain themes pop up in these sto-               Outside N.Y. State,           ed
    The articles in the Summer 2010 is-       ries: People who innovate in their prac-                     Phone orders accept


                                                                                NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010 • 7
                               Chesed
                               Shel Emes
                               by Rabbi Moshe Taub, YI of Greater Buffalo, NY




     To write about Chesed seems like an exercise in courage…the courage to be unoriginal. It is the
     topic of the clichéd sermon; the moral of the tired story; the stuff of children’s Parsha sheets. We
     feel, at times, too sophisticated to be reading about a topic, while important, so obvious and sec-
     ond nature to all of humanity, not just the Am Bechira. No, we want to be “challenged.” Intellectu-
     ally, we want to find Deveikut with G-d, we wish to kiss the Divine; but Chesed? We took that class
     already.




     B
                           eyond these feel-            to find matches for the singles in your      or thoughts*, as if they can be at times
                           ings, I, personally,         community. You volunteer.                    mutually exclusive. Do Chesed and
                           have reservations.               By no means do I intend to sound         mercy not represent Truth? And is Emes
                           I have come to               dismissive of you; on the contrary, you      not one of the 13 Merciful Attributes of
                           learn that when              are to be applauded. However, know-          G-d?
                           rabbis give a lec-           ing an audience allows one to avoid              However, while it is true that these
                           ture on a specific           redundancies and permits us, here, to        two forces complement each other,
     topic that needs to be addressed in a              talk frankly. I am convinced that you,       they are by no means the same. Chesed
     community or the Klal, all too often               dear reader, have your “Bachelors” in        begins as a natural instinct – a child
     those who need the class the most                  Chesed, perhaps even your “Masters”.         knows about mercy. Chesed is, in fact,
     do not attend, and those who need it               Let us therefore go deeper.                  the surrendering to natural feelings of
     the least are the most engaged. So, I                  The Midrash in Bereishis Rabbah          concern and basic emotions.
     imagine what type of person takes the              (8/5) tells us of a peculiar dialogue that       Emes, on the other hand, demands
     time to read an issue of a magazine                took place soon after G-d announced          contemplation, meditation and study.
     dedicated to Chesed, and more, would               His plans to create humanity: Chesed         It takes a lifetime to achieve. Whereas
     volunteer to read the article written by           agreed with G-d’s plan, stating, as sup-     we are born Gomlei Chasodim (it is af-
     a rabbi. You see, I know who you are.              port, the idea that Man will perform         ter all, according to the Talmud, a sign
     You are concerned, involved in your                many acts of kindness. Emes however          of our pristine pedigree), we do not
     community. You support your local                  strongly opposed G-d’s plan. It argued       have an innate knowledge of Truth.
     Bikur Cholim and Tomchei Shabbos.                  that Man would be full of lies and de-           It is therefore of no surprise that at
     You strive to pay full tuition. You sup-           ceit.                                        the dawn of Man we found support
     port the State of Israel, dedicating to it             It seems odd that these two forces       from Chesed, for Man would have had
     your time and money. You seek to help              would appear to have opposing wants          that quality within him in his incep-


8 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
tion. Emes, conversely, understood              The purpose of this issue of View-           May the Al-Mighty bless us with
that Man, while carrying the potential      point is not just to retread tired con-       wisdom to know how to help others. 
to discover Truth, would not be born        cepts but to approach those concepts
with it.                                    in new and insightful ways. Here, we are         * See Midrash there where Shalom and
    Amazingly however, for the think-       forced to admit that that which seems         Tzedek, as well, debate this issue.
ing Torah Jew, something slowly             uncomplicated can, in fact, be intricate,
evolves over a lifetime and a stunning      and that which seems complex, could
reversal takes place: Emes becomes          at times be most basic and natural.                Rabbi Moshe Taub has been the Rav of the Young
innate; Halacha with all of its minutia         We, here, have the courage to be          Israel of Greater Buffalo, NY since 2004 and serves as
and complexities becomes second na-         unoriginal and embrace a Torah truth:         well as the Rav HaMachshir of the Vaad Hakashruth of
ture, whereas Chesed – through life’s       “Olam Chesed Yibaneh” (Psalms 89:3) –         Buffalo. Rabbi Taub has lectured in many communities
many lessons – becomes a matter of          “Olam,” meaning Ad Olam, incessantly,         in the U.S and Canada on a wide variety of topics with
thought, preparation and sensitivity to     continuously shall we build on Chesed         a focus on Modern Halacha and Rabbinic Philosophy.
the receiver. In fact, these two concepts   (see Rashi there, first understanding).
merge under the idiom of Chesed Shel
Emes, where no longer is the good
deed about our own need for fulfill-
ment (although that, too, is healthy)
but about doing what is right, long
term. We begin to realize that delibera-
tion, the search for an Emes, applies to
Chesed as well. We learn to ask Shailos
about priorities in charity giving, we
weigh community needs verses those
of our family, and we learn that, some-
times, the most thoughtful and well
-intentioned words you can muster can
lead to undesired and even disastrous
results.
    Alas, and paradoxically, there are
times when too much thought can
eclipse the most simple truths within
Chesed. I recall when Rabbi Shlomo Zal-
man Aurbach passed away, I bumped
into my old Chumash Rebbe, Rabbi
Dinkle, whose family was very close
with the Aurbachs. I asked if he had
any recollections of this magnificently
kind Halachik master (I have yet to find
one picture where Rav Aurbach is not
smiling!) and he told me the following:
There was man who came into Rav Au-
rbach and explained that he had been
visiting Eretz Yisroel for the past two
weeks and wanted to know what he
should bring from Artzeinu HaKadosha
to his children back in Chutz LaAretz.
At this point in retelling this story, my
old Chumash Rebbe began to weep.
Through his tears he told me what Rav
Aurbach replied. “He smiled at the fa-
ther, took his hands, and said ‘Toys’.”
    While Chesed, at times, demands
thought, we can never lose our simple
instincts.


                                                                             NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010 • 9
                                                        Reminiscences
           The “Doula to Accompany
      and Comfort” is a decade-old
      project of the Jewish Board of
     Family and Children’s Services
           (JBFCS) in NY, that recruits,
                                                        of a
                                                                         Doula
                                                          by Liat Katz
        trains and supervises volun-




                                                        I
          teers who visit and provide                                   came to the Doula pro-         birthday, I sliced a large wedge of birth-
                                                                        gram in 2008 looking for a     day cake and brought it with me to visit
            companionship to people                                     hands-on experience giv-       Saul. I arrived during the middle of din-
                                                                        ing back. Until then, I con-   ner. When I presented the cake to Saul
          who have a life expectancy                                    tributed a predetermined       and told him it was my birthday, he
       of 18 months or less and may                                     percent of my earnings         stood up with delight and pulled out a
                                                                        to non-profit organiza-        chair for me to be seated on. Well over
         have limited social support.                   tions that supported causes dear to my         six feet tall but shaky on his feet, Saul
                                                        heart. Although I believe this practice        reached high above his head to the top
           The volunteers, who come                     is meaningful, it lacked the sense of          kitchen shelf where his mother’s fine
       from every walk of life, make                    fulfillment that doing provides. Even-         china rested, and pulled several plates
                                                        tually, I recognized my desire to take a       down. I could tell by their general inac-
              the commitment to visit                   more active role, to use my time, per-         cessibility and the vinyl bags covering
                                                        sonal qualities and life experience in         them that these plates only made it out
                                        weekly.         the service of others. So I began look-        on special occasions. I was terrified that
            Doulas make a significant                   ing for a volunteer opportunity that           a shelf of plates would come crashing
                                                        would fit my schedule and interests.           down on us, and deeply touched by his
         difference in the lives of the                 My search ended when a friend told             gesture of love in making my birthday
                                                        me about the Doula to Accompany                a celebration.
      people they work with at the                      and Comfort program. Doulas receive                As a Doula, I have the privilege of
        most vulnerable and poten-                      training to provide companionship              developing relationships with individu-
                                                        and comfort for people whose life ex-          als who touch my life by inviting me
           tially loneliest time of their               pectancy is 18 months or less and who          to share a special and unique time in
                                                        have limited support from family and           theirs. Saul, my first client, was a phi-
           lives, providing emotional,                  friends. I recalled the distress my aunt       losophy professor and psychotherapist
         spiritual and social support,                  and family experienced when she was            waging his final battle with cancer. De-
                                                        diagnosed with cancer; the progres-            spite a nearly 50 year age difference,
        comfort, practical assistance                   sion of her illness and final weeks of         we shared many interests including
                                                        her life. It left a deep impression on me      a love of philosophy and psychology,
      and advocacy. The most valu-                      and I was moved by the program’s mis-          Israel, and, investing in the stock mar-
     able and profound gift Doulas                      sion. I have met with three clients since      ket. Saul served in the US military, I in
                                                        I completed training. What astonishes          the Israel Air Force. The list goes on. In
      offer is simply their humanity,                   me is the intensity of each encounter,         the years leading up to his illness, Saul
                                                        how much can happen in the span of             wrote a book that synthesized his per-
          their willingness to witness                  several weeks or months. Doulas en-            sonal philosophy on living a good life,
            the life of another in pure                 ter the lives of complete strangers to         which he asked me to help edit. During
                                                        become caring and sometimes dear               our time together, he shared the ideas
                                   friendship.          friends.                                       and life experiences that influenced
                                                            Poignant moments are captured              him as they related to his manuscript.
                                                        in the smallest gestures. On my 29th           These visits gave me a window into


10 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
                         It’s not about
                       saying or doing
                     the right thing or
                        being a certain
                   kind of person. Just
                     showing up has a
                     profound impact.




Saul’s inner world and                                                                                    ity, and tenderness. Doulas
became a life review for                                                                                  come from every back-
him, a chance to reflect                                                                                  ground and represent ev-
on and mourn the loss                                                                                     ery age group. We find our
of a lifetime of work and                                                                                 way to this program though
memories. We shared                                                                                       countless avenues; some
tender moments and                                                                                        have lost loved ones to ill-
developed a friendship I                                                                                  ness, others are touched
cherish. When he passed,                                                                                  by the program and find it
Saul’s son asked me to                                                                                    compelling. The common
deliver a eulogy and I                                                                                    thread that unites us is a de-
was privileged to share                                                                                   sire to engage in this work,
excerpts of his book with                                                                                 for all its rewards and chal-
the people closest to                                                                                     lenges. It’s not about saying
him.                                                                                                      or doing the right thing or
    The inevitability of                                                                                  being a certain kind of per-
loss in the Doula-client                                                                                  son. Just showing up has a
relationship presents a                                                                                   profound impact. Our pres-
layer of emotional com-                                                                                   ence lessens the burden by
plexity that requires                                                                                     communicating the mes-
special attention. Thank-                                                                                 sage that our clients are not
fully, support is never far                                                                               alone. Death is ultimately
away. The program direc-                                                                                  a solitary experience, but
tors Judith and Amy are                                                                                   the journey leading up to it
an invaluable source of                                                                                   doesn’t have to be. 
guidance, care and encouragement.           him at the time. For Saul, completing
Also, frequent support group meetings       his manuscript was such a powerful                 Liat Katz resides in New York City. Born in the
provide a forum for Doulas to share         need that my willingness to work with         United States, she immigrated to Israel as a teenager
their experiences and learn from one        him on it nourished him in a way that I       and lived there for six years. Following graduation from
another. This network of support is         cannot fully understand. For me, Saul’s       university in the U.S., Liat pursued a career in finance.
essential, especially after losing a cli-   willingness to open up to me, share his       She left her job in 2009 and will begin a doctoral pro-
ent. When Saul passed, it was hard to       inner world with me and take an active        gram in clinical psychology this fall.
know how much I should grieve. How          interest in my life despite his suffering
close were we, really? Reflecting on        touched me deeply. I wanted nothing           For information about the Doula program call:
these questions with Judith, Amy and        more than to ease his way, to make the
                                                                                                Amy Levine, Program Director
other Doulas helped me make sense           time we had together full of meaning
of our relationship and what made it        and joy. It is a privilege to have been                   at 212-632-4768
special for each of us. I came to Saul as   part of his life.
a stranger, with no agenda, to provide          My fellow Doulas inspire me with
whatever support was necessary for          their courage, compassion, generos-


                                                                            NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010 • 11
                      Making
                      The Worst Of Times
                    A Bit Better
                    by Sarah Spielman
                    It started as a group of five-six individuals, belonging to organizations such as Hatzolah
                    and Bikkur Cholim, who had a knack for being at the right place at the right time. For
                    some reason, they were always the ones called “to do the legal legwork after the crib
                    death,” “to arrange the burial of this homeless man,” and “to make a quick clean-up and
                    gather the body parts after the car accident.” Dedicated and unassuming, these noble-
                    spirited individuals were committed to helping Jews, regardless if this chore was listed as
                    one of their organization’s official services.




     I
                  n January 2004, after two
                  decades of working be-
                  hind the scenes, the men
                  convened and decided to
                  establish an official orga-
                  nization. They called it Mis-
                  askim [“those who do”],
     because they are “osek” - occupied, in
     tzarchei tzibur - “the needs of the com-
     munity”. Why an official organization?
     Rabbi Yanky Meyer, Director of Misas-
     kim, explained, “Firstly, we wanted it
     to be easier for people to find us. They           categories; kavod hames, chevra kadi-       we brainstormed and came up with a
     don’t have to rely on the grapevine                sha, mes mitzvah, disaster/accident re-     long list of items which would make
     to locate us. Secondly, we wanted to               covery and gemach nichumim.                 the shiva week so much more com-
     be more organized, so that we can do                   These projects evolved from shar-       forting and comfortable. We started
     more for Klal Yisroel.” Two selfless mo-           ing others’ pain with open eyes and an      small; 200 folding chairs, 30 low shiva
     tives; one golden organization.                    open heart. “Anyone could have really       chairs, 6 water coolers and several fans.
         As the years passed, these extraor-            thought of these ideas,” Rabbi Meyer        We had one truck, servicing Boro Park
     dinary ba’alei chesed have asked them-             says modestly. “It does not even require    and Flatbush, NY. Within weeks, we
     selves time and again, “How else can               so much creativity or organization, but     expanded to include Williamsburg.
     we help Klal Yisroel?” And so, since Mis-          rather a genuine desire to help those       Today, we have 2,500 folding chairs,
     askim’s inception, they have initiated             people suffering out there. Take for        300 plastic shiva chairs, 100 comfort-
     innovative projects, which have revo-              example Misaskim’s famous Gemach            able shiva chairs, 65 water coolers, 50
     lutionized the concept of chesed again             Nichumim, [chesed for mourners] the         aronei kodesh, dozens of air condition-
     and again. Today, their comprehensive              famed ‘Shiva Chair Gemach.’ Everyone        ers, fans, phones, faxes, tape recorders
     services are divided into five umbrella            knows how painful it is to sit shiva. So,   and more. We rent five warehouses


12 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
      NCYI on the move


                                                             rael of Oak Park in Michigan. Rabbi                   success,” said Rabbi Michael Cohen,
     In that area, too, is Herodion, the mini-Masada, with its breath-taking views        From ancient history and archeology (the oldest synagogue in the world, the
                                                             Schachter, a noted Talmudic scholar                   the Mara D’Atra of the Young Israel
of the area and exciting excavations, including the newly discovered King Herod’s    oldest Jewish shing boat on earth) to nature, to fun activities for the kids, plan to
                                                             and Rosh Yeshiva of the rabbinical                    of Oak Park. “During his visit he was
tomb.                                                                                spend a few days here.
                                                             school (RIETS) at Yeshiva University,                 able to speak to a very diverse group of
     South, along this historic road linking the original “Bible Belt,” we enter He-      The Golan Heights - a hikers dream; a wine tasters dream; an archaeologists
                                                             is also a prolific writer and lecturer on a            people ranging from a group of Fam-
bron and the tombs of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Only after its miraculous lib-  ‘dream ... and a synagogue with the the name of one of the Mishna personalities
                                                             wide variety of subjects relating to Jew-             ily Law practitioners to whom he spoke
eration have Jews once returned to pray at the tombs of the fathers and mothers      cut on the front lintel!
                                                             ish law.                                              about the divorce process and issues of
of the nation. It took two thousand years. It was worth waiting for a miracle. Here,      Gamla - site of the heroic stand against Titus and the oldest synagogue in
                                                                  Rabbi Schachter spent Shabbat                    custody, to a group of parents to whom
too, idealist young families forged the way for the nation and so today, Am Yisroel  the world!
                                                             speaking about a plethora of current is-              he spoke about Kivud Av V’aim for the
has returned to the second holiest city on earth. We are back!                            With the victory of the Six Day War, Israel turned the Golan Heights from an
                                                             sues. In addition, he was the featured                21st century, to a group of healthcare
     If we continue south we travel through breath-taking areas on the margins of    ever-threatening shadow of death to a mountain of security. Jews dream no more.
                                                             speaker at a communitywide Melava                     professionals to whom he spoke about
to store our equipment and have enemies. Wetors, sound systems Israel trucks for have returned to this Biblical area (Bashan can join Misas-
the Judean desert, where David ed from his nine              can trace his steps and You are home! We all
                                                             Malka at the Young and of Oak Park,                  suffering testing andYou in the Bible).
                                                                                                                   genetic individual. genetic engineer-
say the to of Psalms that he equipment
truckswordstransport the wrote right there.to                                             Our enemies             kim’s the heights revolution’ we are looking
                                                                                                                     from
                                                            burial societieshe delivered a lecture were swepting.” ’chessed above, and nowby thinking
                                                             at which time to use. To provide emo-       en-
                                                             craggy support for down on them and they             of how you can help on us. Thank people
     The Negev Desert, the great empty spaces, the wildtional mountains and grieving families, are not pointing their guns downthe needyyou G-d...”
practically every community in the NY/                       titled “Honest to G-d: Living Our Lives                    During that same weekend, the
                              Here is where you can feel they teamed up with He never slumbers, the Guardianyour life.
the hidden springs beckon.the average week, what our people felt during
NJ tri-state area. In                                                                Chai Lifeline and            in of Israel.
                                                             with Integrity.” On Sunday morning,                   NCYI Department of Synagogue Ser-
Misaskim makes an average ofthat “thin quiet voice” thatSchachter spoke to parents andyou to some of also hosted aassure you programliked
their wanderings. You can almost hear seventy               trained spoke to the          After introducing
                                                             Rabbi a crisis intervention team. To
                                                                                                                           the Land let me
                                                                                                                       “Some things you can that if you on
                                                                                                                   vices                      special do which I
prophets. and deliveries to thirty-five
pick-ups                                                    inform the public about      Book (of books), you learned from my experience with my
                                                                                     theshiva locations will love the Land!
                                                             children at Yeshivat Akiva, followed by               the East Coast. On Sunday, Novem-
shiva homes.” Ein Gedi springs and Masada are usually discussionhours, they posted country!
     The Dead Sea,                                          and package day tour. YoungWhat a theOak
                                                                a
                                                             a visiting at the             Israel of Shi-          ber 8, the NCYI Before going to be
                                                                                                                  Misaskim families: held another install-
                    phenomenon of the only water where you can not sink, to the and in newspapers.
From the unique was with each of the Mis-
     And so it                                              va Bulletin online                                    menachem avel (comfort mourners),
                                                             Park about the halachic implications of               ment of one its popular programs called
unparalleled drama of Misaskim against the                       Rabbi refreshing
askim initiatives. the last stand heard Rome at Masada, to the Meyer said, “This isPollack is an Israeli-licensed not guide. He willifbeit’s a a lecture Day.”
                                                             genetic engineering.
                                                                                     Shalom the funda-            why tour find out
                                                                                                                   “Regional Synagogue Leadership
                                                                                                                                                 giving convenient tour in
            of Ein Gedi where David confronted Saul...what ment of chesed. Stop, look after Sukkot. Visit histime for you to visit? All too e-mail him at
waterfalls call…and responded. To ease
clarion                                                     more can one say?        the U.S. and listen.          website at shalompollacktours.co.il or often, we
                                                                  “Rav Schachter’s visit to Detroit                    e leadership training and education
      stress and difficulties of NCYI, Land. You the green moun- be an official a great
        Shlomo One of my favorite parts of the
the The Galilee.Z. Mostofsky, Pres.organizing Up north -don’t havethru the 8th was ‘Misas-
                                                             from Nov 6th to
                                                                                     shalompo@yahoo.com
                                                                                                                   program, which took 11 pm the Young
                                                                                                                  come to families after place aton the first
tains,lecturing at Lay Leadership Program
       lush they purchased light genera-
funerals,valleys, Kinneret Lake, nature reserves...         kim volunteer’ to make a difference to a              day of shiva, and the family members




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                                                                                            NATIONAL COUNCIL OF YOUNG ISRAEL                                     21
                                                                                                     NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010 • 13
     are exhausted both emotionally and                 ing of the details which may be insig-    can do it, the happier we are!”
     physically, but they’re busy entertain-            nificant to you, but are important to         For hundreds of people, Misaskim
     ing well-meaning visitors. Give those              the recipient and doing them right. As    makes the worst of times a little bit bet-
     people some space. They’re human!                  one Misaskim beneficiary commented,       ter. It’s not only what they do; it’s how
     They need their privacy and their un-              ‘You even took my laundry to the laun-    they do it. They truly feel for you, care
     winding time – especially on that first            dromat to prepare my house for shiva.     about you and want to help you. And
     traumatic day! When you are send-                  How can I thank you for thinking of ev-   that’s what chesed is all about.
     ing supper to a needy family, why not              erything?!’                                   A recent aveil related her experi-
     spend a moment finding out their                       “And one more tip: You don’t have     ence with Misaskim: “They came in and
     taste preferences? We once had an in-              to start big. People have great ideas,    brought everything - chairs for us and
     stance when we’ve discovered a fridge              but they think that it’s impossible for   chairs for visitors, a water cooler, since
     stocked with a week’s worth of suppers             them to do it. I am overwhelmed how       it was so hot and siddurim for min-
     of meatballs and spaghetti – and those             a small chesed initiative mushroomed      yonim. They even covered the mirrors.
     people happened to have been allergic              into a national organization. When        All without any fuss, justly quickly and
     to meatballs! What about offering to               we started out, no one knew about         smoothly. They're amazing!” 
     do your friend a favor after she finishes          Misaskim. Today, we’ve made break-
     sitting shiva and everyone has already             throughs in Washington DC, made                Sarah Spielman, a freelance writer and published
     forgotten about her? That’s what we                improvements at La Guardia, Kennedy       author, teaches high school language arts and runs
     try to accomplish with the Yesomim                 and Newark Airports; we’ve teamed up      Words of Wisdom, a private writing business. She re-
     Chol Hamoed Trip! Life after the death             with local and Federal agencies and       sides in Lakewood, NJ.
     of a loved one death is painful. Think of          become a primary go-to contact in
     how you can alleviate the pain. These              emergency situations. Still, making it           For more information, go to:
     ideas may seem to be trivial. But that’s           big was never our goal. We only want-
                                                                                                             www.Misaskim.com
     truly what chesed is all about. Think-             ed to help people. And the better we




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14 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
Spiritual
Investing
Bikur Cholim
by Esther Altmann
It’s a common experience: a friend or an acquain-
tance asks if you would like to do a mitzvah. What
happens next? How do we respond?
What if we knew that this proposal contained
within it a unique opportunity - an experience
that would transform you, change you for the bet-
ter? What if you knew that you would have special
spiritual experiences, and that you couldn’t lose,
only gain?




T
                      his belief in the pos-   lion would have been seen as a great           ringing of the Bikur Cholim line on her
                      sibilities inherent in   return. In the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim,        phone repeatedly interrupted, remind-
                      mitzvot epitomizes       the return is even greater. I see this as      ing us that in the world of Bikur Cholim,
                      the view of Chava        ‘the big secret,’ the degree to which          the urgency of human need is always
                      Rose, the energetic      doing this mitzvah enhances your own           present.
                      CEO of the Lenox         life. Bikur Cholim offers the opportuni-           Chava’s commitment to Bikur Cho-
                      Hill Hospital Bikur      ty to profoundly interact with another         lim began with a friend asking, “Would
Cholim in New York City. Twenty-two            human being in an extraordinary way            you be interested in visiting a friend
years ago Chava Rose was pursuing              that wouldn’t have presented itself in         who is now a patient at Lenox Hill Hos-
a successful career in the investment          the course of ordinary life.” For those        pital?” Chava made her choice and said,
banking sector, evaluating new busi-           who choose to enter this world, one            “Yes”. Her positive response at that
ness opportunities. Using the same             that often involves the sharing of suf-        moment led to a chain of events that
skills that she once employed to evalu-        fering and pain, a stranger becomes an         would change not only her own life, but
ate the viability of start-ups, Chava has      intense actor in your life, and vice versa.    the lives of countless others and would
pegged the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim as          This miraculous kind of encounter can          culminate in the formation of one of
a venture with substantial gain on in-         be transformative.                             the most active and respected organi-
vestment.                                           As we sat in her kitchen talking          zations of its kind in New York City. To
    Although Chesed is usually thought         about what it means to do Bikur Cho-           date, Bikur Cholim of Lenox Hill Inc. has
of as an act of altruism, in truth, the        lim, Chava spoke from over 20 years of         provided over 1000 overnight stays for
giver usually reaps the majority share         experience and from her own particu-           visiting family members, and countless
of benefits. “In my investment bank-           lar stance of down-to-earth simplicity.        hospital visits, as well as everything
ing life, to invest a dollar and get a mil-    And, as if punctuating her remarks, the        from Shabbos candles and Kiddush to


                                                                                NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010 • 15
                                                                                                                          Guidelines
                                                                                                                         For Successful
                                                                                                                         Bikur Cholim
                                                                                                                  1. Choose an activity that you en-
                                                                                                                  joy doing, and you will bring an ex-
                                                                                                                  tra measure of joy to the mitzvah.
                                                                                                                  Do you enjoy talking to people, or
                                                                                                                  do you prefer behind-the-scenes
                                                                                                                  work, like helping with the admin-
                                                                                                                  istrative end of things, or prepar-
     homemade jello for patients.                       metrically enormous result. The act of                    ing or delivering meals? Don’t feel
         As in many chesed “start-ups,” the             “doing,” generates its own momentum.                      that you must perform a task that
     genesis was simple: having an aware-               When volunteers get over their initial                    feels uncomfortable, since there
     ness of a need and being willing to                reluctance and shyness, the mitzvah                       are many facets of Bikur Cholim
     tackle the problem. That seems to be               has the power to transform the doer’s                     and all are vital mitzvot.
     the secret of doing chesed.                        life. “Chesed changes one’s perspec-
         “I met a nice couple that had a very           tive on life. It puts all the common daily                2. Choose a convenient venue.
     specific need that I could solve: The              emergencies and discomforts into per-                     Ideally, your travel time should be
     husband needed a place to stay so that             spective. In fact, when I see couples                     not more than 15 minutes in each
     he could spend Shabbos with his sick               who engage in Chesed together, their                      direction; Proximity to your home
     wife. For them, it was an enormous                 relationship exudes a special sweet-                      or job will be a huge factor in your
     problem, but for me, it was easy: I in-            ness, since Chesed makes people espe-                     being able to continue your par-
     vited him to sleep on our sofa.” Prob-             cially kind.”                                             ticipation.
     lem solved. For Chava, a consummate                     “I have learned so much from the
     business professional used to solving              patients I have met over the years.                       3. Identify a practical act that you
     practical problems, this was a situa-              Chesed is often portrayed as a burden                     can perform: bring Shabbos can-
     tion that lent itself to analysis and solu-        on time and resources. People think,                      dles or challahs, or an information-
     tions. “I’m a very practical person and            ‘What’s this going to take from me                        al card; go to make Kiddush; read
     I saw that with little effort on my part,          now?’ This is unfortunately misleading;                   a book to a child. Through a task
     it was possible to resolve a problem               it also turns people off. There’s a line in               orientation to the mitzvah, you
     that seemed to be insurmountable,”                 the morning tefillot: ‘Let our hearts be                  can alleviate the fear of ‘what will I
     was her response. “It was easy to help             open’. Perhaps we are praying that we                     say?’ Also, there is a great sense of
     with practical things that could relieve           not be dismissive, that we not miss the                   satisfaction in a successfully com-
     the feelings of helplessness and hope-             opportunity of the experiences that                       pleted deed.
     lessness that often result from illness.           chesed affords. The existential despair
     A favorite food, bringing a siddur: such           that we feel from the degree of suffer-                   4. Set boundaries: For any type of
     small acts of chesed were so simple to             ing we encounter in the world can be                      Chesed, resist the impulse to over-
     do and made such a disproportionately              healed by doing chesed, since in your                     do it. This is a real ‘yetzer hara,’ as
     (to the effort required) great difference          small world, you can make a mean-                         people often begin with great
     in the hospital experience of those pa-            ingful difference in the lives of others.                 enthusiasm, but “burn out” after
     tients.”                                           You accomplish something really, truly                    too much emotional intensity. It’s
         Of course, great effort goes into the          good, something objectively positive                      natural to become overwhelmed
     running of a Bikur Cholim organization,            in this world. This leads to an uplift-                   by the extent of the need, but that
     yet still there was the simple truth that          ing and energizing feeling that feeds                     feeling can discourage further
     each Bikur Cholim visit is just the meet-          on itself; it’s a renewable personal re-                  participation. Remind yourself
     ing of two individuals – one who is in a           source.”                                                  that that particular act of chesed
     position to be able to give something                   Pirkei Avot reminds us that it is not                wouldn’t exist in the world with-
     of himself to the other, who needs, but            incumbent upon us to complete the                         out you and that boundaries really
     simultaneously contributes something               work; we are required, however, to be-                    enable you to continue your work
     precious to his visitor.                           gin it.                                                  and avoid “compassion burn-out”.
         The effort is really not so over-
     whelming, Chava reflected, since, it                   Chava Rose holds MS & MBA degrees from Co-
     seems to be built into G-d’s plan that             lumbia University; she lives in New York City with her   Contact Lenox Hill Bikur Cholim, Inc.
     a small outlay of energy yields a geo-             husband and daughter.                                              at 212-744-4748


16 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
                                              Infertility
                                              A challenge
                                              to our community
                                              by Rabbi Gideon Weitzman
                                              The Torah gives powerful and moving expression to the experi-
                                              ence of the childless woman in Rachel’s heartfelt cry, “Give me
                                              children or else I will die.” Her cry penetrates the heart, and one
                                              cannot but empathize with her obvious pain and her sense of
                                              loss of meaning, facing a life lived without children. Rachel is
                                              not alone, for she is joined by the many matriarchs of the Torah
                                              and Tanach who coped with the pain of childlessness, and today
                                              by the many infertile couples who are suffering within our own
                                              communities.




E
                      stimates     today           While there are various explana-        to achieve parenthood so effortlessly,
                      place the inci-         tions offered for the increase of infer-     for the couple struggling with fertility
                      dence of infertil-      tility, the new advances in treatment        issues, it often seems to be an unat-
                      ity    somewhere        options have increased the awareness         tainable goal that sets them apart from
                      between 15% and         of the problem in today’s world. While       “regular” people.
                      as high as 24% of       in past years solutions were rarer, and           At Puah Institute we meet couples
                      all couples trying      so, discussion of the problem often did      from many different places, all having
to have children, making it far from          not lead to resolution, today, couples       a unique situation and facing their own
a rare occurrence. We all have many           desire and deserve to avail themselves       set of difficulties, challenges and pain,
couples in our communities and shuls          of contemporary technology that will         and we try, with all of our resources
who are suffering in exactly the same         hopefully lead to their successfully be-     to address them individually as they
way as Rachel, but who may not have           coming parents.                              need and deserve. On an average day,
the opportunity or eloquence to ver-               Often, in addition to medical path-     we may meet with or receive a call
balize their pain for others to hear. It is   ways to help, couples need someone           from a couple like Shira and Josh (not
our responsibility to sensitize ourselves     to talk to and to confide in, someone        their real names). They are a success-
to their experience and do all within         who can offer non-judgmental support         ful, professional couple who had an ac-
our power to interact with them in an         and the opportunity to feel “normal”         tive social life and many friends. They
informed and appropriate manner. This         in the Orthodox world, where fam-            assumed that when they were ready
may take the form of active or passive        ily and children form the natural back-      to start a family, it would just happen.
understanding, and to be helpful and          drop of a “normal” existence. One of         Unfortunately, that was not the case.
sensitive, our reaction must reflect the      the most painful aspects of infertility      After a year of trying, they consulted
desires or needs of the individual cou-       is the feeling of being “alien” in one’s     their rabbi, who sent them to Puah In-
ple, not our concept of what they need.       own society. When most people seem           stitute. There, the rabbi they met with


                                                                             NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010 • 17
                                                                                                                     




     suggested a number of tests which all              that we had lost touch with all of our     mean, we were…but we were the odd
     came back negative. Shira was becom-               friends,” Josh continued.                  ones out, and we were just sad. ”
     ing increasingly anxious and worried                   “Oh, yes.” Shira agreed. “All of my        This conversation illustrates many
     that she would never be a mother, and              girlfriends were busy with their kids      of the things we hear at Puah Institute
     the couple’s unhappiness and concern               and babies; some were pregnant with        from the couples we counsel, and it
     was taking a toll on their marriage.               number two or even, three. I felt dis-     raises the importance of the aware-
     They wondered, why them? Did G-d                   couraged and left out.”                    ness and sensitivity that is needed
     have some reason for punishing them                    “And we had no time to ourselves.      when your friends, relatives (even your
     this way? Were they lacking in some                What with work and the other “job” of      children) and neighbors are undergo-
     spiritual attribute?                               trying to get pregnant, we never went      ing fertility issues. On the one hand,
         Testing continued, and eventually,             out and were just stressed and tired all   they don’t want to be marginalized or
     Josh, too, underwent testing under                 the time,” Josh added.                     treated differently, and no one wants
     halachic supervision, which revealed a                 “When we did go out,” Shira said, “I   to be shunned or avoided. On the oth-
     possible avenue for further treatment              hated it. Everyone was going on about      er hand, they do have special needs
     that might solve their problem. “The               babies and nannies and car pools. I felt   that require some careful thinking and
     worst part of it,” Shira explained, “was           like a freak, like an alien, and so when   planning in order to avoid inadvertent-
     that we felt that we had lost control              we would get invited to friends, we        ly stepping on their tender spots or cre-
     over our lives. Our medical treatments             stopped going, since it was too pain-      ating further wounds.
     determined how we had to live our                  ful. But, at the same time, not being          While we recognize that all couples
     lives during that period – with all the            together with friends left us even more    are different and therefore, all react dif-
     doctors’ appointments, blood tests                 isolated and depressed. It was a very      ferently to their fertility situation, there
     and medications and all the rest - it was          confusing and difficult time. Every bris   are some general guidelines that apply
     just crazy.”                                       we went to was a trial, and even though    in most situations. If you were friendly
         “In the middle of all this, we felt            we tried to be happy for our friends – I   with a person before their infertility




                                                                                                               
18 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
became an issue, there is absolutely no                        to offer a childless couple the honor of                     second IVF treatment worked and Shira
reason to sever your relationship just                         “kvater” at your child’s bris? You may                       and Josh and their beautiful daughter
because you are pregnant and they are                          want to ask a close friend to field the                      Rachel are a joyful new family. 
not. It will just require a degree of sen-                     offer for you to determine whether this
sitivity, no different from many other                         is a welcome offer or not.                                        Rabbi Gideon Weitzman is Director of Puah Insti-
personal interactions (i.e., your friend                            It is also essential to remember that                   tute. He received rabbinical ordination from the Chief
just lost her job, and you’re making a                         these couples devote a large amount of                       Rabbinate of Israel. He is a Visiting Associate Professor
great salary). For example, it may not                         their time to treatment and need time                        at Albert Einstein School of Medicine.
be appropriate to invite this friend (or                       to do other normal activities. “The rab-
couple) to a gathering where everyone                          bi at Puah Institute asked us how much
is pregnant or has little kids, where                          time we spend together doing things
they may feel out of place, or worse,                          that we enjoy.” Shira and Josh look at
feel their situation in a more painful                         each other when they remember their
way. Inviting them alone or with a mix-
ture of other couples or people may be
                                                               answer: “Not enough.”
                                                                    “The rabbi told us to use this time
                                                                                                                                  1alls co0nect0e0
                                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                                    00,0n 0,0 d
one solution.                                                  to spend some good quality time to-
     Many people ask us at Puah Insti-                         gether, not going to the doctor, not
tute if they should raise the issue of                         taking medicine, just relaxing and hav-
fertility, treatments and the challenges                       ing fun. It was the best advice.” While it
the situation presents with a childless                        did not solve their fertility problem, it
couple. There is no clear answer to this                       did make them better, calmer, happier,
question; some couples are very open                           and therefore better able to partake in
and wish to discuss the issue with oth-                        and benefit from treatment.                                                100,000 ph
                                                                                                                                                     ones
ers, while others are legitimately much                             A childless couple is not a pariah,
                                                                                                                                             rented ou
more private and reserved, or even                             although they may feel like they are;                                                  t

closed to the topic. Our advice, then, is                      dealing with them is not so hard –
to always let the couple take the lead.                        just try to imagine yourself in their
Depending on your relationship with                            shoes; and remember that your love
                                                                                                                                                               15
                                                                                                                                                            stude0nt
them, your position, your experience                           and friendship go a long way in eas-
and your own personal experience, it                           ing a very painful and trying situation
may be fitting to broach the subject                           that happens to many members of our                                                         programs
cautiously and give them the chance to                         families and communities, and yet is
open up or to curtail the conversation                         exquisitely hurtful in our society where
as they wish.                                                  family is primary.
     Is it a kindness or an added burden                            This story had a positive result: the


       The Puah Institute (Poriut U’Refuot Al Pi HaHalacha – Fertility and Medicine in Accordance with Hala-
    cha) was established 20 years ago in Jerusalem by Rabbi Menachem Burstin, under the guidance of Rabbi
    Mordechai Eliahu, zt”l. It is currently a world center for questions related to reproductive issues of all kinds.
       Puah Institute has a highly trained staff of rabbis with expertise in the latest trends in reproductive
    medicine and the application of halacha to the wide spectrum of issues connected to it. Their services
    include a worldwide network of experts to provide supervision over the technical procedures involved in
    reproductive medicine, to ensure that no mistakes are made in these highly sensitive matters.
       The Puah Institute also offers educational outreach, including classes on the latest medical develop-
    ments to rabbis, on the halachic ramifications of treatment to medical professionals and to chattan and
    kallah teachers and the general public.
       Puah Institute offers an online guide for couples at www.jewishfertilityonline.org as well as informa-
    tion on their regular web site www.puahonline.org.
       Their main office is in Jerusalem, with branches in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Australia.
                                 New York office: 718-336-0603.                                                                 Students save more
                         Jerusalem office: 02-653-6786 or 02-651-7515
                                                                                                                              in 2010-11 than ever before!
                                                                                                                              Your phone in Israel should be a Talk’n’Save phone.



                                                                                                              NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010 • 19
     The
     Ripple Effect
                                                                                of Chesed                      By esther altmann




                                    It is an accepted truism that we have little or no choice in what happens to us;
                                    our only choice is how we will respond. Shmuel Greenbaum responded to evil
                                    with a wave of goodness that transforms the daily lives of people all over the
                                    world.




     W
                                hen Shosha-             ‘There is good in every bad.’ And so it    Greenbaum would extend this phi-
                                na Green-               is – in tragedy, there is opportunity to   losophy outward to the world at large,
                                baum and                reach out to others and to turn some-      asking people to become “partners in
                                her unborn              thing “bad” into something good and        kindness.”
                                child were              meaningful.”                                   Just as human ingenuity can con-
                                murdered                    In the wake of this nightmare expe-    ceive of the horrors of suicide terror, hu-
                                in the 2001             rience, Greenbaum found the strength       man beings so too, can use their imagi-
     Jerusalem Sbarro Pizza terror bomb-                to reflect on the immense power and        nation for good, and so Greenbaum
     ing, her sudden, horrific death struck a           effect of the human wave of chesed         challenged people to notice goodness
     devastating blow to her husband, Shm-              that flowed over him, for it literally     in their daily lives and to share their
     uel that could have paralyzed his life.            pulled him from the brink of despair.      observations with the world. He asked
     Instead, he was inundated by kindness              He wondered, what if this power of         them to learn about kindness and prac-
     extended by people he knew and by                  goodness could be harnessed? With          tice goodness in any of the countless
     complete strangers, all desperately de-            the assistance of good friends, he set     ways that humans can conceive of
     siring to assuage his unbearable pain.             about to do just that.                     reaching out to one another. All sorts
         He recalls that, “During the tra-                  Greenbaum’s response was less          of people responded to his challenge
     ditional week of mourning, close to                a reaction to her death than it was an     and continue to respond across conti-
     a thousand people came to comfort                  affirmation of her life. Shoshana had      nents and across national and religious
     me. Hundreds of them were students,                devoted her life to teaching children,     divides.
     parents and friends whose lives were               not only educating them with facts,            Partners in Kindness began with an
     enriched by my wife in so many differ-             but instilling in them basic values of     email newsletter, “A Daily Dose of Kind-
     ent ways. They told me how she had                 humanity – kindness, self-esteem and       ness” that was distributed to a rela-
     comforted them by telling them that                respect for others. With his project,      tively small number of friends and rela-


20 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
tives filled with stories of kindness. The   photocopies for the members of their          continue unabated, the forces of good
objective was for people to do a kind        church who don’t have email.                  are still in good feisty spirits.
deed each day and report it back to              Partners in Kindness is growing                One of the tenets of Rabbi Green-
Greenbaum. He would then edit their          exponentially; in figures which are al-       baum’s philosophy is that the practice
story and reproduce in in the newslet-       ready outdated, it has been translated        of chesed can be learned, that people
ter to complete the circle of inspiration.   into eight languages and reaches 1.5          can be empowered to do good, re-
    After this was underway, Green-          million readers on six continents. It         gardless of their background. In the
baum and company (his community              seems that in spite of the frightening        spirit of that belief, he has constructed
friends who joined in the project)            6055-PG of violence and 7/8/10
                                             outbreaks Viewpoint Ad.p4 hate that           a PM Page 1
                                                                                         3:38 classroom curriculum with the goal
added a second component – “Kind
Words” – which was syndicated around
the world and included, in addition to
stories, scientific insights on kindness
and techniques of how to practice and
                                                                                Creative
instill kindness.                                                              Solutions
    Greenbaum has identified six prac-
tical goals for “Partners in Kindness”:                                         for Your
    1. Inspire the world with stories of
heroes and role models that display
                                              PEWS
                                              SANCTUARY
                                                                              Synagogue
kindness.                                      DESIGN
    2. Incorporate the stories into a         SYNAGOGUE
structured approach to seeing oppor-           FURNISHINGS
tunities to do kindness.                      MECHITZAS
    3. Create a method to reinforce
the practice of kindness using TV and         DONOR
speaking commercials with emotional            RECOGNITION
stories from celebrities about how an         HOLOCAUST
act of kindness changed their lives.           MEMORIALS
    4. Design programs for schools to
teach kindness.                               ACCESSIBILITY
    5. Design programs for employers           DESIGN            NEW PEW DESIGNS
                                                                 • Straight or Curved Layouts
to teach kindness.
                                                                 • Continuous or Individual Seats
    6. Design programs for government                            • Always Customized for Your Space
agencies to teach kindness.                                      • Value Engineered for 10 year warranty
    Perhaps some of these goals may
strain our realistic expectations, but
the ideas resonate; people’s receptiv-        PRESENTATIONS – Synagogue Arts & Furnishings
ity to the simple stories of kindness is                            Tel: 914-668-8181 Fax: 914-668-4044
amazing. People obviously enjoy read-                  Email: SYNAGFURN@AOL.COM Web: WWW.SYNAGOGUEFURNISHINGS.COM
ing about the goodness of their fellow
humans, are inspired and then relay
these missives around the planet, and
the tales gain momentum as they go.
                                             PROTECT YOUR SYNAGOGUE AGAINST LOSS
    Greenbaum was himself surprised
to receive some of the feedback he
                                                 It’s never been easier and more flexible.
has gotten, from people who are Jew-          Anderson Krause Insurance and the Utica National Companies
ish and Christian, believers and athe-          offer an insurance package that can be custom designed to provide
ists – all of whom share their infatua-           the coverage your synagogue needs at a very competitive price
tion with goodness and altruism. There
                                                              Available from: Anderson-Krause Insurance
is the woman in the Philippines who
forwards the stories to every email list           P.O.Box 110, Branford, CT 06405 • 1-800-956-5660 fax. 203-488-1738
in her country, the teacher in Texas                                    for further information call:
who includes the emails in the classes
                                                              National Council of Young Israel • 212-929-1525
she teaches in women’s prisons and
the Evangelical couple who make 70


                                                                              NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010 • 21
     of “inspiring young people to have                 ing, writing, social networking and in-      Olam that touches so many and ac-
     dreams for the future and to give them             ternet filmmaking – skills to transform      cording to the thousands of commu-
     confidence and the skills they need to             dreams into reality.                         nications he receives from all kinds of
     pursue those dreams.” Ironically, this                 Participants in this program will        people the world over, affects the lives
     program is most useful in communities              be required to read from appropriate         of many for the good.
     where children live in an environment              texts, such as “Pay it Forward” and “A          May Shoshana’s life be a continuing
     of poverty and violence. Research in-              Daily Dose of Kindness” and view in-         blessing to the world. 
     dicates one of the most useful tools               spiring films, such as “Awakenings” .
     in turning troubled kids around is em-                 Will it work? Can the practice of         For more information, to subscribe to
     powering them to help others.                      chesed be taught? Shmuel Greenbaum
                                                                                                     the email list or to contribute your per-
         First, the goals must be established:          believes that it will and can, and he de-
     the primary goal is to impart the idea             votes much of his time to proving it.        sonal story of kindness to be included,
     that dreams for the future are impor-              In his experience, kindness is catching          contact Partners In Kindness at:
     tant. Next, young people must be                   and a chain reaction of awareness and             www.PartnersInKindness.org
     shown that their dreams can be real-               commitment follow the consistent dis-
     ized. They need to understand and be-              semination of stories of human kind-
     lieve that they can make a difference.             ness and relationship.                        You may purchase “A Daily Dose of
     All of these ideas and beliefs will pro-               In the face of enormous brutality        Kindness – Stories From the Heart – A
     vide them with hope – the invaluable               and evil Shmuel Greenbaum didn’t lose        Response to Terror “ through the web
     ingredient that many lack.                         faith in humanity; instead, he invested
                                                                                                          site or from Amazon.com
         The proposed curriculum includes               his faith in people and their potential to
     units that teach usable skills that will           learn and practice goodness. He initi-
     enable the students to translate theory            ated the project that he calls “Partners
     in practice. Therefore, it includes read-          in Kindness,” a real example of Tikun




                                                                                                             Young Israel
                                                                                                              ErEtz
                                                                                                            HaCHaim
                                                                                                            CEmEtEry
                                                                                                               Near Jerusalem
                                                                                                          Single or Family Plots
                                                                                                                   Contact:
                                                                                                         rabbi Yehudah Prero
                                                                                                        6715 Western Run Drive
                                                                                                         Baltimore, MD 21215
                                                                                                              410-358-5467
                                                                                                          YIEHinfo@gmail.com

                                                                                                              In association with
                                                                                                                 The Council of
                                                                                                              Young Israel Rabbis
                                                                                                                    in Israel


22 • NatioNal CouNCil of YouNg israel  viewpoiNt summer 5770/2010
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ELA100xx_Viewpoint.indd 1                                                                      6/24/10 11:13:04 AM

				
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