How To Get Heat

Dear Editor,

This will take you less than 20 minutes and will heat up your whole house when the power is out, without a generator. It is very worthwhile to do. I personally have no power in my house and my children were freezing. Now they are nice and warm.

These are the six items that you need:

1. A high-cranking car battery

2. An inverter (one end is a car cigarette-lighter plug, the other end is an AC outlet). It should be 150 watts or more.

3. A short extension cord

4. Electrical tape

5. Wire stripper or scissors

6. Screwdriver

Here is what to do step by step:

A. Cut the extension cord in half. You now have a male AC plug with wire and a female AC outlet with wire. Now cut off the female end of the extension cord. Strip 1.5 inches off both sides of the plain wire on both sides.

B. Take one wire and wrap it around the very tip of the cigarette plug of the inverter. Tape it well. That tip is positive and you should connect that to the positive terminal of the battery.

C. Connect another wire to the metal clips on the side of the cigarette plug. Wrap it around well and tape it well. Make sure that this connection does not overlap to the positive side. This wire you should connect to the negative terminal of the battery.

You now have a battery that is connected to a live AC outlet.

D. Find the wires that connect your boiler to the house electricity. It should be in a box right outside the boiler. Make sure that this is the correct set of wires. Untwist them from the house electricity and reconnect them to the other side of the second half of your extension cord, with the male plug on the other side.

E. Your gas or oil boiler will now work.

Be very careful and make sure that you have the correct wires and not to cross the wires.

Depending upon the cranking power of the battery, this should last three or four days. If you buy your battery at Auto Zone, they have facilities for warranty service, where you can charge your battery for free. There is an AutoZone located right in front of Brach’s.

Rabbi Yair Hoffman

The Real Lesson

Of Hurricane Sandy

Dear Editor,

I heard a beautiful shiur right after the storm from Rabbi Fischel Schachter ( who taught that the lesson from the storm is emunah and bitachon in that ultimately we cannot guarantee anything for ourselves in this world; it is all up to Hashem. This idea warmed me up through Shabbos as I told over the ideas and stories that were told by Rabbi Schachter. Now I stand one week after the storm and, as usual, my wife corrected me. The greatest lesson we have learned from this storm is hakaras ha’tov.

We learned in Parashas Noach that Noach was busy doing chesed for an entire year straight, and the only time he paused from doing chesed, he was bitten by the lion for delaying his breakfast. What the Five Towns, Far Rockaway, and Bayswater have witnessed this past week is 24/7 chesed that in my humble opinion outdid Noach’s. We feel obligated to show our hakaras ha’tov. On a community level, our appreciation must go out to Achiezer and its extended staff of volunteers. On a personal and community level, we feel deeply obligated to show hakaras ha’tov to Rabbi Eliezer Feuer and the command center at Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater under the leadership of Hillel Adelman. The Young Israel has always been a unifying force in Bayswater in terms of tefillah and chesed. Now it is the epicenter of all chesed in Bayswater, providing a community with all of its physical and spiritual needs and protecting the community from unwanted visitors.

On a deeply personal yet community level, we must express appreciation to Rabbi Zalman and Rebbetzin Chanie Wolowik and the Chabad of the Five Towns. First, Chanie reached out to us in Bayswater prior to the storm, imploring us to evacuate to their home for the storm. The only reason we didn’t take up the offer is that we had a prior offer from our mechutanim, Amnun and Lana Kariyev, who took us in and made us feel so welcome. We did take up the offer for Shabbos, and as soon as we walked into the Wolowik home, we were told by Chanie that we were staying for the duration! The Wolowik home was packed for Shabbos, with three additional families plus children from other homes who were without heat. We don’t know how Rabbi Zalman and Chanie do it, but they are virtual chesed machines and Chabad of the Five Towns in the chesed epicenter of the Five Towns.

Chabad, while still offering all of its regular services and programs, and now Gan Chamesh back in session, still provides hot food and a place to recharge phones, computers, and one’s spiritual batteries. Rabbi Zalman is playing shadchan–in terms of matching up families without power with families that have power and have room to take in people. Rabbi Zalman’s concern for our children is so great that he cannot tolerate families with children living without heat in their homes, and he does everything in his power to move these children into heated homes.

Monday night at Chabad exemplified Chabad’s commitment to the community’s physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. In addition to the abundance of food provided by local businesses such as Brach’s, Carlos & Gabby’s, and Chap-A-Nosh, there was a pediatrician for medical needs, a social worker to speak to parents and children, and clowns from Lev Leytzan to entertain children and adults alike. Then, last night, my wife had the pleasure of putting the younger Wolowik children to bed as Rabbi Zalman and Chanie continued their chesed for both the community as a whole and for individuals. We last saw Chanie this morning as she set out to continue knocking on the doors of all the apartments where the elderly of the community live and who are separated from their loved ones due to the gas crisis.

The chesed we have witnessed has been extraordinary and inspirational, and we owe hakaras ha’tov to all of those who have put their lives on hold to help the community and individuals alike.

Lazer Calderon

Very Humbling

Dear Editor,

Lots of words. Millions of words spoken and written to explain or describe our recent storm or characterize the horrific impact of “Sandy,” the superstorm of all storms that has left the tri-state area reeling in unprecedented weather-related death, destruction, and despair.

We speak of “catastrophic” damage and destruction, of brutal winds and raging floodwaters. We mourn the loss of so many lives while we applaud the heroism of those who again and again show up to rescue, to put others first, despite their own private despair.

We supported or opposed the marathon and we are determined to hold an election.

We are proud and tough, people hurting but determined to rebuild. We have seen the selfless work of volunteers and volunteer organizations rally around those in need, and their efforts are indeed heroic. We have comforted and mourned. We celebrate a “hot” shower and the return of heat, and we have learned to measure and treasure a full tank of gas.

Our leaders are doing the best that they can, which for some of us is okay and for many of us will never be enough. For those of us who have survived, we have hopefully learned a lot from this terrible ordeal–most importantly, that the force of nature cannot be fully predicted, contained, measured, ignored, trifled with, or accurately described.

This time, the enemy was different. It would not respond to brilliant technology or to the strongest military or police presence. It would not be dissuaded from its path of destruction until it ran its course, until it stopped; not stopped by us, just stopped. No political power or fearless but powerless leaders determined who died, whose house was destroyed, flooded, burned, or left intact. While our leaders may impact who gets help first, they had nothing at all to say about who did or did not sustain injury or damage. I am not sending a religious message, as I am not qualified to do so. It seems to me, however, that we all prayed at some point in this ordeal. If we did not, we should have.

Lots of words. Descriptive words, powerful words, millions of words about our storm, but missing one observation.

What I did not hear or see in any of the news coverage or political commentary about the raging storm was the recognition that, above all else, this storm should have been a very humbling experience for all of us. Humbled by the knowledge that neither education, power, money, nor position could stop the wind or make the sea recede. The storm stopped when it stopped and the path of destruction hit us all, the rich and the poor, the prepared and the reckless. Watching the floodwaters pour into our tunnels and our basements was not only frightening, it was humbling. Our technology, collective genius, diverse talents, character, and strong leadership meant nothing. The floodwaters traveled their own path. Hundred-year-old trees snapped like twigs, finding their own targets indiscriminately, and there was absolutely nothing any of us could do about it but watch, helpless and in awe.

To be successful or smart or seemingly important in one’s own mind was suddenly not important enough; indeed it was irrelevant. That should be humbling. A powerful, deadly, costly, and very humbling storm.

Lots of talk. Lots of words. After all has been said and written, one word survives. Humble. It was a humbling experience. All of us should feel humbled. We must. It is really that simple. A simple, smart message. Loud and clear.

Ben Brafman



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