Sandy’s Aftermath: How Others See Jewish Chesed

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6 Responses

  1. Yaakov Menken says:

    The Chesed Fund of Baltimore, the brainchild of local askan and ba’al chesed Frank Storch, ran a clothing drive this Motzei Shabbos that was so successful that the 17 foot truck was filled and people were turned away. Then we received notice from New York that so much was received that no more clothing is needed.

    Now people have a new question for their Rav — what to do with clothing one intended to give to the cause, but was refused? Does it now belong to Tzedakah or was there never a transfer from the original owner? [Since each person’s thoughts and statements may have differed, this is not the place to attempt to answer the question.]

  2. DF says:

    Question for Rabbi Adlerstein – do you think the well-organized Jewish community should include its efforts to include non-Jews too? Or is it impossible for one community to take on too much, and each community should look after its own? In the same vein, do you think the insularity of the Jewish community and the “taking care of themselves” is noted and resented by non-jews? Or are they just one small community out of many, whose particular relief efforts are barely even noticed by the general public among all the problems?

    [Please dont read anything into my question. I wrestle with these questions in my mind. Susepct you do, to one degree or another. Would like to see your take.]

    [YA- I think that many Jews are paranoid about being seen as exclusivist for taking strong measures to protect their own. Other Jews are oblivious to the need – both morally and practically – of being sensitive to the pain of all human beings, and involved in ameliorating it. The trick is to steer a middle course.

    Jews will not be the only ones looking out for their own, and should not be hesitant to do this. Other groups have always done the same, and continue to do so. Many Christian groups are particularly good at this. They are quite serious about helping out anyone, but still capitalize on sentiments of Christian responsibility for other Christians.

    We ought to be doing the same. We can and must be responsible to our brothers and sisters. At the same time, we must find ways to join in the general effort to help all in need. Chazal tell us mefarnisin aniyei akum im aniyei Yisrael, and some poskim point to the word “im” as crucial. If we set up public distribution centers, they must be open to anyone who turns to them for assistance. If all our efforts are private, we should find some ways in which our joining arms withe the general community is apparent. This will not prove so great a burden that it will interfere with our responsibility to our own community.

    For one example of focusing on Jewish communities and still creating a kiddush Hashem for providing to non-Jews, see Mordechai ben David’s Seagate video at 6:20 ]

  3. Chaim Saiman says:

    ’אמן. יהא שמה רבה וכו

  4. Samuel G. says:

    You can send the clothes to other people that need them. I am sure that there are non frum jews and non jews that would appreciate an act of chesed. Oh by the way, it would be a wonderful kiddush Hashem!

  5. Menachem Lipkin says:

    This is wonderful, and, while you gave it a quick mention, let’s not understate Chessed like this being done by ALL types of people. One small example…

    My wife’s cousin and her husband decided Friday night that they had to do something to help the folks in the Rockaways. He waited on line 2 hours for gas at 4:00 am Saturday morning and then later they went to Target, filled up their van with supplies and drove out to Far Rockaway to deliver their goods. They chronicled this on Facebook and as a result, they returned on Sunday with a caravan of 7 SUVs and a U-Haul truck filled to the brim. They are now in the process of procuring a staging area so that they can continue this on a larger scale. With the potential of a snowstorm hitting the area on Wednesday this has become an issue of life and death.

    Here’s an excerpt from an email they received from a local councilman’s office:

    “You and your group are great people. The most sincere, warm and caring group I have ever worked with in any disaster or otherwise. Its very nice to know that people still care about one another. Its been so cold and harsh out here lately and so meeting and working with you felt like being with my family.”

    Nor is this unique. Having grown up on the Jersey Shore I’m in touch with people there and the outpouring of Chessed from all corners has been tremendous. In my past community of Highland Park a local church and temple joined together to stage supplies for devastated shore communities. The list goes on.

    Thankfully, the close-knit nature of the orthodox community allows us to organize things quickly and extend ourselves to each other in ways that others can’t. As everyone is in this together I think it’s important to extol the broader “sparkle” we’re seeing among so many of our fellow B’nei Adom.

  6. Observer says:

    For another great example of focus on the community, that also reaches out, look at Masbia (

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