Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
When my big sister was in fifth grade, she came home one day with a new trick.
“You take a paper,” she demonstrated, “and you fold it back and forth, like a fan.” She expertly turned and folded, then pinched and held the “fan” in the middle to form a sort of bow.
Holding the bow under her nose as a huge mustache, EG assumed a wicked expression and said in deep, cruel, tones, “You must pay the rent.”
Back to the mustache. “You must pay the rent.”
Hairbow: “I can’t pay the rent!”
Now she held the bow under her chin as a bowtie. A gallant voice proclaimed, “I’ll pay the rent.”
“Why thank you!” Hairbow gushed.
Mustache wrinkled his face in anger. “Rats! Foiled again!”
Hairbow sighed with pleasure. “My hero…”
We watched, enthralled, and then got to work on our own mustaches.
Erev yom tov was not my best day.
In the best of times I am not super organized. On a day when the List Of Things To Do was scratched in favor of simply running around like a chicken without a head, trying to do everything, get everyone everywhere…well… you can imagine.
I had dropped off two kids at the sefarim store and allowed just-gotten-permit-sister to drive me to the cleaners with only two screams as we almost-crashed. Or almost-almost-crashed. I jumped out of the car and made sure Tatty’s credit card was still in my pocket. Oh no, it was drizzling again. A look in the car window confirmed my fears. My hair was…. “pre-shower” would be too kind a description.
Soon, soon… I thought, yom tov will be here… it will be done…
I opened the door to the cleaners and almost stepped right out again. The line of customers stretched from the counter to the door. I had never seen this place that way. Sigh. Sukkos comes only once a year, right…
Well, at least it was all men, I thought with relief. Nobody here to recognize me on my bad hair day.
The line crept slowly forward. A man in a raincoat was telling jokes to a group around him. The laughing was nice. His smile was kind, too, I thought.
I checked the time again. Five minutes, ten minutes… I imagined the little kids in the sefarim store, growing bored, waiting to be picked up, anxious… my sister in the car, getting antsy… my mother at home, wondering where everyone was…
I tapped my foot and obsessively watched the progress of each man or boy in line. One less… and another done… twenty minutes.
The nine-year-old boy ahead of me grabbed his huge pile of shirts and turned away. Yes! My turn!
I stepped up to the counter and gave my phone number to the man behind the counter. His identical twin whisked a neat bunch of gleaming plastic onto the rack. Ahhh… the sight warmed my heart. Freshly pressed clothes does bring simchas yom tov.
I slipped the card out of my pocket and slid it onto the counter.
“No credit card,” the man informed me. “Only cash.”
I blinked. “But… but don’t you usually take credit card… over twenty dollars?”
“No credit card,” he repeated shortly. “Not today.”
I stood there dumbly. “But… I don’t have anything else…”
Ching Li was firm. No credit card.
My mind lamely tried to come up with a plan. “Umm… I guess… I’ll go home… and get money… can you leave my clothes here… and I’ll come back soon…” and wait for another half hour… and the place is probably closing soon… and Mommy needs the car… and you need to get ready for yom tov…
I felt like I wanted to cry. After all that waiting… I was unraveling.
The joke-telling man was suddenly trying to get my attention. “I’ll give you the money; don’t worry.”
In a moment he was at the counter, pulling open his wallet. “What’s your name…Reich?” He must have seen the name on the card.
“Thank you… thank you so much…” I was way too grateful to protest. “I’ll pay you back right after yom tov...”
Ching Li accepted the money, handed over a receipt, ka ching! A whisk of plastic, it was all done…
I turned to my rescuer with relief. “Thank you so much…” I had no words.
“No problem,” he assured me with a smile. He gave me his name and stepped back in line. As I left the cleaners I heard him calling my father and telling him that all was fine with the kids. I grinned and stepped out into the beautiful rain.
“You MUST pay with cash.”
“I can’t pay with cash!”
“You MUST pay with cash.”
“I can’t pay with cash!”
“Ill pay the cash,” says a face with a kind smile.
“Why thank you!” she simpers, weak with relief.
Wong Long scowls. “Rats! Foiled again!”
(I sigh in blissful amazement.) “My hero.”
To me, that is a hero. A person who sees someone in need, and stands up, and steps forward, and reaches out a helping hand. To friend, or to stranger. No, he hadn’t known who I was before he saw the card. To be a man, to do what needs to be done… and to do with a smile, and a cheery air…
That is a hero.
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Today is day six without a phone.
Besides for feeling slightly isolated, it’s not too bad.
I’ve been doing things that I know I would not be doing if my phone was sitting next to me, shiny screen beckoning.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon”.
Do you remember the good old days when kids were kids and there was never anything to worry about? Those days never really existed, but today there are issues kids worry about that weren’t issues for some adults. They include fear of bullying, natural disasters, divorce, and violence.
In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.
There is a glimmer of hope in fighting corrupt elections in Israel, which is no worse than anywhere else but simply more obvious.
Syrian opposition forces again prove Hezbollah is not invincible. They posted a video showing a direct hit near Damascus on a multi-story Hezbollah building, which collapsed like dominoes.
A naturalized American citizen who immigrated from Jordan in 1995 could be deported from the United States for lying about her conviction for the 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket, in which two Israelis were killed. Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 66, was arrested Tuesday in her suburban Chicago home on immigration charges and appeared in federal […]
Local elections in Israel are rarely a pretty sight, but the one Beit Shemesh Tuesday night takes this year’s trophy. False IDs and trashing ballots were the tip of the iceberg. By the way, Shas won.
If the effects of “global warming” today are going to be anything like those of the 3,200-year-old drought and cold wave that, according to research in the Kinneret, existed in the Middle East, watch out.
A PA terrorist fled his religious Jewish hostage after cutting off his sid locks in western Gush Etzion. Just as worrisome, the media almost totally ignored the incident. It might upset peace talks.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/my-hero-2/2011/11/12/
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