I read a short story the other day. The story was a simple one, but in that simplicity, the author connected with the reader. Through vivid narrations and descriptive writing, the author takes the reader on a journey through tragedy and loss to empathy and compassion. Along the way there is an apology due to a misunderstanding, which is climactic at the end of the story.

When I read daily of another attack in Israel or around the world, can I really feel the pain of another person? I certainly try. Just as an author paints a picture with words that bring up images in our minds that help us feel for another, certain emotions are universal in all of us and we can therefore use our own experiences to understand what someone else is facing.

In the short story, the author finds a resolution of compassion where earlier there was detachment, and acceptance and gratitude where there was anger. Nice and neat. Where is our resolution? How long will the Jewish people continue to face antisemitism? How long do we have to wait for our long galus to end?

How long do we have to hear of tragedies, murder, stabbings, and children dying in a fire? How long before everyone who needs a refuah sheleimah is healed, and those waiting for a shidduch find their bashert?

We daven as part of our hishtadlus, and part of that hishtadlus is feeling the pain of others. That is what will give us the impetus to comfort and be comforted, to show gratitude for what we have, and to believe with all our hearts that a brighter day is just around the corner.

Hachnasas Sefer Torah For The Chazaq Beis Midrash

 

Mama Rachel At Bnos Malka

This past week, on Wednesday, October 17, the 3rd- and 4th-grade Bnos Malka Academy students spent a special evening with their mothers, honoring the upcoming yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu. Under the guidance of one of the school’s outstanding program directors, Perel Rauch, the students eagerly prepared for the event.

The evening began with mothers and daughters working side by side to create beautiful watercolor paintings of kever Rachel Imeinu together. Next, they played an exciting game of “How well do you know your mother/daughter?” The room buzzed with excitement and discussion as parents and children got to know each other just a little bit better. Amidst all the hilarity, everyone learned something about her mother/daughter that she didn’t know before, and came away with a stronger appreciation for each other.

The scenery and cookies and chocolate milk helped make the evening special. The event was capped by an outstanding performance by the students for their mothers. Each class presented a different song, and in the end, when they all sang “Mama Rachel” together, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The evening was a nice finale to the learning the students engaged in with their respective teachers about the gadlus of Rachel Imeinu. Having mothers join for the event gave the students a chance to spend an enjoyable evening with their mothers, one on one, and show their mothers hakaras ha’tov and appreciation for all that they do.

Shevach High School Launches Its Chesed Team

Shevach High School has once again hit a homerun with the launching of its acclaimed chesed program.

The overall theme this year is “Everyone Can Be a Chesed Champ: Chesed is Our Goal.” Shevach’s multi-purpose room was appropriately decorated with pictures and slogans to suit. “Become a Chesed Champ,” “Grab All Your Gear,” “Touchdown With Chesed,” and “Be a Team Player,” were examples of what was conveyed visually, all depicting what the chesed program is all about. The young ladies presented an original theme song, with lyrics that enthused and motivated the students to “step up to the plate” in their chesed commitment.

The “coaches” of the chesed program this year are Shani Bennett, Chavi Ribowsky, Bracha Rosenberg, Hindy Steinberg, and Gitty Wurem, with team captains appointed in each grade. Under the leadership of Rebbetzin Chani Grunblatt, assistant principal of Shevach High School, the “coaches” gave hours and hours of their time to be sure that all the details were attended to.

After absorbing all the eye-catching messages surrounding them, the students were then addressed by Rabbi Ilan Ginian, who himself is a paragon of chesed. After being a rebbe in Eretz Yisrael for many years and working with at-risk teens, he was a chaplain in the U.S. military, and he is a driving force at The Center, a well-known outreach program. Rabbi Ginian emphasized that chesed should be a part of our lives. He spoke of Avraham Avinu, who was the pillar of chesed. Interspersed with humor and stories, he drove home the idea that chesed is part of our DNA as Jews. There is the need to do chesed, certainly, but also to do it right. In order to enhance our acts of kindness, we help according to what is needed, not necessarily according to what is easy or fun. We need to identify with the needs of people. To do this, we need an ayin tovah, a good eye, to see the good in others and look for ways to lighten another’s load.

The next part of this exciting program was a moving video describing the impact of the different chasadim in which Shevach students are involved. As in other years, some programs are ongoing and some are for the moment, some are one-on-one and some are communal, and some are individually done and some are done in groups. Students can choose what speaks to them, and they come to the realization that the biggest beneficiaries in their acts of chesed are themselves. Chesed is mandatory at Shevach, with the students doing a minimum of three hours of chesed a month; however, most students do four hours or more, which earns them a grade of 100 on their transcripts.

It is a great source of appreciation and pride to the entire Queens community that Shevach students reach out to many organizations and local families in their chesed commitments. The Shevach girls are, indeed, a winning team.

Upcoming Events

Rabbi Daniel Glatstein’s shiurim. Fridays at 10 a.m. in the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills morning kollel. It started on October 12 with Mesechta Berachos and will continue each week. At 11 a.m. Rabbi Glatstein gives a shiur on the haftarah of the week. Both shiurim will take place on a weekly basis.

YCQ Kindergarten Open House, Sunday, November 4 10–11:30 a.m. for children and up to two adults. For more information, call 718-793-8500 ext. 313.

Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim dinner, November 18, 5 p.m. at Terrace on the Park. For more information call 718-268-4700 or email info@RSAdinner.com.

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or email chanita@astorbrokerage.com.

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