Research has shown that societies collapse unless individuals go out of their way, at a cost to themselves, to ensure that they themselves, as well as others, do the right thing.
How many of us can truthfully say that we do this? How many of us care when a neighbor in our building gives birth and offer her a meal? How many of us see someone hurting and try to relieve some of their pain? How many of us say thank you to the people that spend the most hours with our children, day in, day out, week after week?
How many of us can say that we play a real part in keeping this community of Crown Heights alive? How many of us want our kids to grow up with the same passive attitude towards our community that we ourselves are demonstrating?
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people in this community who open their doors many months of the year to guests and Shluchim from around the world. There are those that volunteer for PTA and do it very happily.
I am not here to complain, just to say thank you to the people that dedicate their entire lives to our community. The ones who lead by example. They may host fancy dinners or events, but the hours and work that go into those programs are never billable. These heroes do not work from 9am-5pm. These people are rarely thanked. Nor are they remembered years later, when circumstances change and they are no longer in the picture.
Let’s start with the principals, teachers and staff at our schools. The ones that not only get paid late, but are not even told when they can expect their next pay check. They show up every day, prepared, with goodies and lessons for our children. I promise you, they aren’t in this job because they can’t find a better one. They are there every day because they truly care for your child.
And then there are all the organizations that our neighborhood can proudly boast about:
* Ten Yad who aids young couples in setting up their homes like mentschen when they first get married.
* KSCVK who assists financially strapped families with paying for their childrens weddings.
* Simchas Shabbos V’Yom Tov (CSSY) and the Yom Tov Fund who provides families with food for Yomim Tovim and Shabbosim.
* Friendship Circle who lends a hand to families with special needs children.
* Bikur Cholim who provide hospital visitations, meals, transportation to families with medical conditions.
* The Beis Medrash and Yagdil Torah who provide shiurim to people that want to learn.
* Ahavas Chesed who pays bills for medical conditions and has a soup kitchen.
* Tzivos Hashem who provides our children with Chassidishe Chinuch.
* Nechama’s Closet who provides clothing for new brides.
* Nshei Chabad who encourage our wives and daughters to grow and learn.
* Hatzalah of Crown Heights whose volunteers are ready to help in any emergency 24/7, saving lives every day, with caring and compassion.
The list goes on and on….
Tonight I wish to salute the fine people who run these organizations. Everything in this world is decreed from above – whether you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, a giver or a receiver. It may even be that at different stages in your life, you will fall into different categories.
No one chooses to be poor, sick or needy. But thanks to these organizations, these families are taken care of in a dignified and exemplary fashion. The directors don’t get thanked nor do they receive gifts from the families they assisted. But they are still there every day, worrying, caring and helping. I don’t wish it upon anyone to need their services but who knows what He has in store?
It is you that makes sure that Crown Heights remains a community. That a concept called Chessed exists in the lives of our children. That my cousin, my neighbor and the stranger are all being looked after. Thank you for making sure that this circle of giving continues to spin.
You don’t have to be part of an organization to keep Crown Heights alive. Send your child’s teacher a gift “just” to say thank you. Show up at a function to show your support. Make a donation to an organization that you have been helped by or know someone else who has been. Send flowers to a volunteer for her birthday. Offer a meal to a neighbor in your building who recently gave birth. Show that you care.