As Part 4 of a sporadic series on Creating Community, I write about an effort that spans the Atlantic Ocean and connects us with Eretz Yisrael.
In May, a friend, Ari, contacted me to find an organization that could use three dental chairs and two x-ray machines, donated by a dentist who was retiring from his practice in New York. (We're foodie buddies and he knows about my networking instincts.) His father, Bob Schwell, coordinates donations for Yad Sarah in New York (while shuttling between Israel and the United States) and these items were deemed not suitable for shipping to Israel. By the end of the day, I was able to identify two organizations interested in the equipment: Columbia's dental school which runs a clinic in New York and Partners in Health which would like to send them to Haiti.
This series explores some of the ways that Jews have created a sense of kehillah (community), both traditional and modern. Previous articles have focused on a contemporary approach on the Internet and the traditional method of hospitality.
Jews who travel know to contact the local Chabad rabbi in whatever city they find themselves to seek help about kosher food and Shabbat accommodations. The local Chabad website would have that week's Shabbat candle lighting time and parshah (Bible portion), even when the traveller's own congregation's website may not be as current. This free service is extended to all Jews, regardless of religious background, but sometimes, the Chabad connection goes beyond the normal call of duty.
This on-going series will explore some of the ways that Jews have created a sense of kehillah (community), both traditional and modern. Part 1 focused on a contemporary approach, the list-serve; in this article, I will explore the traditional method of hospitality; future articles will focus on Chabad, a group of Jews with phenomenal outreach as well as integral cohesion, and how one religious institution, Lower Merion Synagogue, has managed to send so many of its youth to make aliyah (immigration to Israel), and even to serve in Tzahal (the Israeli Army).
Recently, my daughter's new apartment was burglarized, so I found myself making travel arrangements on short notice. I couldn't find hotel space close to her Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago, so I reserved the bedroom and bathroom offered by a young couple on the Airbnb website. My daughter stayed with me there for two nights and it was perfect for our needs. Later this month, I will return for another visit, this time with my teen daughter. The very day I landed in Chicago, the New York Times ran a feature on Airbnb and its placement service in its Business section.
This series will explore some of the ways that Jews have created a sense of kehillah (community), both traditional and modern. Part 1 will focus on a contemporary approach; in future articles, I will explore the traditional method of hospitality; a focus on Chabad, a group of Jews with phenomenal outreach as well as integral cohesion; and how one religious institution, Lower Merion Synagogue, has managed to send so many of its youth to make aliyah (immigration to Israel), and even to serve in Tzahal (the Israeli Army).
In June 2007, I launched the LMShuls list-serve for the Orthodox community of Lower Merion. It was immediately embraced and, as of this writing, there are 1,195 subscribers. No, there are not that many shomer-mitzvot Jews even if we are more identifiable by our festive garb on Shabbat and Yom Tov (the Jewish holy days).
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