The dinner is over so I guess that means that it is time for desert. Actually it is or was annual fundraising dinner season but this year—courtesy of Hurricane Sandy—many institutions and organizations find themselves limping or perhaps backing into the process instead of moving at full throttle and full steam ahead as is customary.

The robustness of a dinner campaign and then the dinner itself usually is a barometer of the standing of whatever the organization or educational entity is in the community they serve.  A dinner event is a combination of a tribute to its honorees as well as an opportunity to recognize and pay homage to the vitality of an organization, Yeshiva or institution.  For many the annual dinner is the crescendo of a years’ worth of work and activity.

As I’ve chronicled here, my wife and I were two of the honorees earlier this month at the 18th annual Chabad of the 5 Towns dinner.  We had a lot of fun, raised some money for the organization but through the entire process I wasn’t really comfortable because—believe it or not—we really do not enjoy being the focus of attention.

But I, that is we did it anyway because we knew and understand clearly that it wasn’t about us but about the group, the Rabbi and the Rebbitzen and the personal self-sacrifice that is part and parcel of not just their everyday but every waking moment of those days.  I don’t know how they do it, all I know is that they do it and they do it with dedication, sincerity and love.

So if you know that then you also know that this dinner was supposed to take place originally on November 4thbut then Hurricane Sandy happened at the end of October and no one was in the mood for a dinner or to celebrate anything.

It was not only impossible to have a dinner if one so desired largely because most of the community edifices had sustained water or wind damage or both and many homes as well as facilities where these dinners are held were without power for an inordinate amount of time.

In the case of the Chabad dinner November 4th was out of the question because not only did the Sephardic Temple in Cedarhurst lose power but the street that it is located on—Branch Boulevard—sunk in and collapsed. So no cars, no lights, no food— no dinner.

Some quick and resourceful thinking quickly switched the date to December 16th.  But our schedule said that we were going to be in Israel on December 16th and not planning on returning until the 19th or 20th. By then the dinner was supposed to be a long time behind us and something to reflect upon.  So after deliberating for a while whether or not to change the dates and return for the dinner we adjusted the itinerary accordingly.

More in this weeks 5TJT and at 5TJT.COM.


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