Chesed

Noticing the Everyday Miracles in Jerusalem

Neighborhood playground (Ir Ganim- Kiryat Menachem facebook page)

Not a dry eye in the hall. Bet you’ve heard that phrase before, but how often do you really see a room full of guests sniveling collectively to keep composure at a seemingly routine family event?
Eleven years of waiting, hoping, praying for a child came to an apex at a recent brit milah in an obscure Jerusalem neighborhood synagogue.

Ir Ganim- Kiryat Menachem is best known for the culture clash between the old-timers and the new-comers. The older residents are comprised of Jewish families from Arab countries which had been forced out after centuries of living in thriving communities. In Israel’s infancy they were settled in quickly-constructed shikun buildings in the 50’s and 60’s and have since been joined by Russian immigrants who came in the big waves of aliya from the former Soviet Union. They have carefully guarded their secular lifestyles. The new faces on the blocks are the young, sincerely observant families lacking the means to choose more established religious neighborhoods.

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Posted by Heddy Abramovitz in Essays
The most Jerusalem funeral ever

The most Jerusalem funeral ever

You know when you start your day visiting your parents and then the man who lives alone in their building is found dead in his apartment and your sister tries to resuscitate him to no avail, and he barely has family and what family he has doesn’t know how to organize a funeral so you and your sisters and the local amazing Chabad rabbi organize his funeral, and you get in touch with your righteous former neighbors from the Mount of Olives area to help secure the funeral and complete the minyan, and the deceased man’s Tel Aviv relatives are terrified to go to the funeral because they are afraid they’ll be attacked and you tell them it will be fine and then it’s not fine because the local Arabs decide to throw stones at them during the funeral, and then after the burial you get to learn more about the deceased and how he was born in Hebron 84 years ago, lived in the Old City and then moved to Katamon after 1948, served as a paratrooper in the six day war and worked for the government for forty years, retired and became a recluse in your parent’s building until he passed away this morning and was privileged to be buried in the world’s oldest Jewish cemetery facing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem this evening?

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Posted by Miriam Schwab in Snippets

Where we help each other do good

On my way to Ulpan (Hebrew class) one morning, just after making aliyah, a young man with multiple piercings wearing all black kept asking me for something I couldn’t understand. An elderly lady wearing a hat and wig came off her seat to hand me a tissue. She wanted me to have the mitzvah of giving it to the young man who was asking for one. Charedi meets Chiloni over a mitzvah!

Posted by Shlomo Fisherowitz in Snippets

Do and then understand

Aleph:

Another trip to the laundry and the tailor. On the platform I waited for a 9 or a 19 bus. Along came a 28, with a driver whom I knew for a long time, who had once actually retrieved my cell phone from his bus’s floor and called the synagogue to tell me when he could return it to me on his next trip. I decided the chance to say hello and show my friendship was well worth the detour. I could pick up the 9, but not the 19, at one of the Eshkol Blvd or Bar Illan stops. On the 28, realized I could use the time between buses to use a bank cash machine and so I did. When I got to the laundry I was glad I had done so. I started out with more than enough money for my shirts, but I had forgotten that there was a jacket repair job waiting for me. Only because I got the additional money from the bank’s machine was I able to avoid asking for credit.

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Posted by Dave Klepper in Snippets
Paying it forward

Paying it forward

I’m walking on Emek Refaim, and this gaggle of middle school girls stops me. They are holding chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes. Immediately, before I can say anything, they say “these are not for sale!”. (Me? I’m disappointed. They look delish!).

But, then….this happened: they explain to me that they are from Hartman Girls School and are giving out, for free*, cookies and cupcakes in honor of Gilad Shaer’s birthday and in his memory – Gilad, as you might recall, was one of the 3 israeli teens kidnapped in june 2014 and then slaughtered by the terrorists.

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Posted by Arnie Draiman in Snippets

Tzedakah in our times

I’m walking up the street and I overhear the guy next to me on his cell phone telling someone that there is a family in need to whom he just brought them a second-hand fridge and other furniture.

He tells the person on the phone that only thing left now is to get them food for Passover. After a few seconds, he says that scrip (food vouchers or those supermarket gift cards) would be better than giving them cash. I reach into my pocket and take out 4 cards of 100NIS each and hand them to him.

He goes into shock as he tells the person on the phone what just happened. After a few minutes, he tells the person that that’s it. done.

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Posted by Arnie Draiman in Snippets