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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘chesed’

Chesed Shel Emes: Be Prepared

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Chesed Shel Emes was founded 25 years ago to care for the Jewish community in times of tragedy. The organization provides families with help in arranging tahara, burial, shiva and, transportation. It also provides free burial for the indigent. CSE takes care of hundreds of cases in Florida annually.

CSE assists with many difficult and sensitive issues. The organization deals with the medical examiner and local or state police departments in cases where there is some suspicion of criminal activity or unknown cause of death.

Mark Rosenberg, director of Chesed Shel Emes Florida Division, advises that in any investigation by law enforcement, those who were recently with the deceased need to be in contact with authorities. Identification of witnesses to an accident or incident should be provided. A full medical history, including a list of medications and the name of the primary care physician should be on hand.

Failure to act in a timely manner can result in delayed release of the body, delayed burial, and other complications.

Rosenberg says individuals need to be prepared for the contingencies of life. He reminds seasonal residents and visitors that if someone dies in Florida and is from out of state, there are obstacles and challenges before the body can be released.

“We hope you will never need our services, but it is important to not waste valuable time in an emergency,” he says. Rosenberg suggests that the Chesed Shel Emes 24-hour hotline number, 305-359-5700, be posted in every Jewish home in Florida.

Shelley Benveniste

Chesed Shel Emes Florida Division Presents Shiva Services

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Chesed Shel Emes has been in Florida for five years, offering a plethora of emergency services to the Jewish community throughout the state.

The not-for-profit organization provides emergency services, disaster and recovery, airborne transport, burial for the indigent , and even shiva services. CSE is a shoulder to lean on in times of ultimate distress.

Traditionally, the term chesed shel emes refers to the chesed (good deed) of taking care of those who have passed from life in this world. The niftar (deceased) cannot repay in any way. It is the ultimate form of benevolence.

CSE works together with medical examiners, local and state law enforcement, hospitals, and funeral homes. They strive to provide dignity and decorum in a sensitive and compassionate manner. Kovod hameis (honor for the deceased) is the mission of the organization.

David Katz, field supervisor, administrator of CSE, and field chaplain of several law enforcement agencies, says the shiva services have been well received. For seven days the mourners’ homes are turned into places of comfort. A great loss becomes a little easier to deal with. The organization will provide necessary items like a Sefer Torah, shiva chairs, folding chairs for visitors, water coolers, siddurim, and pushkes (charity boxes).

Contact Chesed Shel Emes Florida Division by calling 305-359-5700 for more information, to volunteer, or to make a contribution. For day or night emergency service call 855-273-2121. Visit the organization’s website at www.CSEflorida.org.

Shelley Benveniste

MillionsforChesed Set to Raise Record $3M

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

— COMMUNICATED —

MillionsforChesed, billed as the largest day of giving for Chesed in history, has only a short time left until it ends at 12 Noon EST today!

This all-or-nothing multi-organization online fundraising event has raised more than $2.5M. All donations are quadrupled. But, all must meet their goals in order to collect.

Tomchei Shabbos of Queens met its $100K goal first, more than doubling its goal after just a few hours. Tomche Shabbos of Rockland County exceeded its $500K goal raising $567K, and Ahavas Yisrael of Baltimore met its $600K goal and upped their goal to $750K, meeting that goal as well. Bikur Cholim of Lakewood met its $300K goal and increased to $360K and CSB Care exceeded its $60K goal, raising $69K. At midnight, 11 organizations were still moving toward their goals and reaching out to the community for support.

The 12 Noon EST finale is looming, and not all campaigns have been funded, but more than $2.5 million has been raised.

These organizations excel as community-based Tomchei Shabboses, Bikur Cholims, Hachnosos Kallahs, special needs residences and services, services for the Jewish blind, and special clown services for sick children. Their specialty is not fundraising. They have gone out on a limb to raise more money, on less time, with less expense – so that their organizations can spend more time supporting members of our communities.

Be a part of history. Help ensure that all organizations meet their goals. All donations will be quadrupled at: www.millionsforchesed.com. Choose one campaign or donate to all incomplete campaigns.

Participating organizations: 1. Ahavas Yisrael Baltimore, MD $600,000 2. Ahavat Hinam, France 3. Bikur Cholim Lakewood, NJ $300,000 4. Chabad Chesed Queens, NY $40,000 5. CSB Care US $64,000 6. JCC Marine Park / Project Machal Flatbush $200,000 7. Jewish Relief Agency MetroWest NJ 8. Jewish Relief Agency Chicago, IL $30,000 9. Kind Kitchen FL $200,000 10. Keren Simchas Chassan V’Kallah Crown Heights, NY $100,000 11. Mesila Israel $200,000 12. Misameach US $20,000 13. Seach Sod Israel $200,000 14. Tomche Shabbos of Rockland County Monsey, NY $500,000 15. Tomchei Shabbos of Queens Queens, NY $100,000 16. Yad Ezra v’Shulamit Israel $100,000

Questions for the organizers can be directed to Tobey Finkelstein

Jewish Press Staff

Kindness Makes Miracles (Continued from Last Week)

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

I closed last week’s column, which concerned the benefits we receive from performing acts of chesed (kindness), by noting that just as a parent is overjoyed when his or her children reach out to one another with a helping hand, so too is G-d exceedingly pleased when He sees us acting in a spirit of unity and loving-kindness.

Ours is a generation that has yet to learn this lesson. Yes, I realize American Jewish communal philanthropy has done so much for Jews throughout the world. Yes, many individual Jews are paragons of chesed. But far too many of us take the attitude that we’ve done enough: “I gave to that charity.” “I helped that person.” “I did mine, now you do yours.”

We’re all guilty, to one extent or another. “There’s just so much I can do.” “I’m pulled from every side.” “I’m not Bill Gates.”

But we are in a time of serious crisis. We must turn over a new leaf and go beyond our present levels of chesed. We must make that extra effort and reach beyond ourselves.

Once again I refer to the teachings of my saintly father, whose wisdom speaks to us today as it did in days gone by. His chesed, his love for others, and his pure goodness surpassed anything I’ve since encountered.

He is my role model and he can be a role model for everyone. He always taught that a little bit of chesed can save a person’s life. When he spoke of chesed he wasn’t necessarily referring to writing a check but to something deeper than that: a smile, an open door, kind eyes, an understanding heart, wisdom, guidance.

I never tire of telling how every Yom Kippur night my father would get up in front of his congregation and start out by saying, “Tonight is Kol Nidrei.There are people here who don’t speak to their fathers and mothers, their in-laws, their siblings. You must make shalom for your tefillahs to ascend. Shalom is the key with which we can unlock the Heavenly Gates and evoke G-d’s Mercy, His help, His salvation. Before we can commence we must learn to forgive each other and reach out with genuine warmth and love to our flesh and blood. There can be no room in the heart of a Jew for anger, animosity, or vengeance.”

As my father would say, we need to purify our hearts with the most perfect cleansing solution, the ingredients of which are guaranteed to make even the most ugly stains disappear. That ingredient is unadulterated chesed.

Let me give you directions for the use of this magic chesed cleanser. A heavy dose of smiles, every day and as often as possible; an eagerness to help others; and a respectful manner of addressing the people with whom we come into contact.

Young people should know that how they treat their parents and teachers will go a long way toward establishing stellar chesed habits that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Let me tell you a story. My daughter calls me every morning. Her granddaughter – my great-granddaughter – spent many weeks at her side this summer. One morning that little girl, all of three years old, woke up late and she asked my daughter, “ Bubbie, did you call your mother yet?”

A few hours later the little girl heard a Hatzolah ambulance go by.

Bubbie,” she said, running over to my daughter, “call up your mother right away and find out if she’s all right.”

This from a three-year-old child. Read those words again and place them in your heart. Now try to visualize Hashem asking you, after 120 years, “Did you call your mother? Did you?”

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

On the Way to a Jewish State (Part 2)

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

In our previous article, we laid the initial foundation for rectifying the state of Israel at the super-conscious and conscious-intellect levels of the psyche. With the first part in mind, we can now turn to the practical implications of the program for building a Jewish state. Settling the Land – Loving-kindness

The first of the attributes of the heart according to Kabbalah is the sefirah of chesed (loving-kindness). Like the right hand that offers and distributes goodness and blessing to all, this attribute is likewise motivated by love. The archetypal personality for this property is the first Jew, Abraham, the great believer and the man of loving-kindness, as the Torah phrase states, “Loving-kindness is to Abraham.”

On the public arena, the main relationship of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel is love, “The greatest sages would kiss the borders of the Land of Israel and kiss its stones and roll in its dust, as it says, ‘For Your servants desire its stones and its dust they have favored’.” Like a groom who loves his bride, such love effects a powerful attractive force, which, like a magnet, surpasses vast expanses of time and space.

That same love by power of which we have returned to the Land (not just because we were looking for a “safe refuge”) must be confirmed by a formal consummation of love, by declaring Jewish sovereignty over the entire country, as a natural right. We must also emphasize that this love is not just a natural love for our homeland, but a love that contains the full array of loving God (“Love Havayah, your God”); loving the Jewish People (“‘Love your fellowman as you love yourself’ is a great rule of the Torah”); and loving the Torah, because this fundamental triplet can only manifest in its entirety in the Land of Israel.

A clear statement must be issued to assert the fact that the source of our right to the Land of Israel is God’s promise to us in the Torah (as millions of gentiles all over the world also believe), and that the success of the reestablishment of the Jewish People in its land is only through God’s help. The Torah warns us that once we have settled the Land of Israel we should not say, “My power and the might of my hand has made me successful,” rather, we should “remember that Havayah your God is the one who has given you the power to be successful.” Following these lines, we suggest revising the declaration of independence for the Jewish state to include these basic principles of the Jewish People as it returns to its land.

Declaring sovereignty over all parts of the country that are in our possession is the “best thing” that can happen to the Jews and a necessary reaction on our part to the revelation of Divine loving-kindness in our era. This is not referring to a political declaration that is empty of content, but a statement that is accompanied by actions – because actions speak louder than words, as the mishnah states, “Say a little and do a lot.” We should wholeheartedly support settling the entire country, redeeming land, and developing agriculture and sources of livelihood, while heading towards financial independence and instilling a culture that balks at chasing after luxuries and advocates living modestly and frugally, “Who is rich? One who is happy with their lot,” “When you eat the efforts of your hand, happy are you and it is good for you.” A special emphasis should be placed on encouraging and preferring Jewish labor and raising the prestige of the Jewish worker through brotherly love, as the verse states, “And your brother shall live with you.”

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

‘Hurricane Season’

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

It’s been a rough few weeks. It began with the news of a heinous crime just blocks from where I live on Manhatan’s Upper West Side: a nanny viciously took the lives of her two young charges. Hurricane Sandy came next, contributing additional loss of life and financial devastation of a magnitude never before experienced by our East Coast brethren. A week later many in our community were disappointed with the decisive outcome of the presidential election and the realization that we are truly a minority both in number and outlook within the United States. Finally, there was the precarious situation in Eretz Yisrael, hundreds of rockets raining down on daily and the threat of another major war. The saying goes, “when it rains, it pours.”

The book of Beraishis focuses on our Avos. Avraham is the trait of chesed or kindness. To me, this is an illusion to the first month of the Jewish calendar. Tishrei is all kindness from Hashem, His accepting our teshuvah, cleansing us and allowing us to sit in the sukkah under His watchful eye.

Then we shift to the stories of Yitzchak and the aspects of judgment or intensity of his persona as exemplified in the Akeidah experience. The letters of “Yitzchak” spell “Ketz Chai” “or end of life as he represents the transition into a higher world and the finality and magnitude of death. Yitzchak reflects the period that we most recently have experienced the endless flow of disappointment, anguish and pain.

We now transition to the parshiyos of Yaakov Avinu, with a prayer in mind – that Hashem be inspired by the Yaakov’s trait of tiferes. That Hashem look toward the integration, balance and synthesis Yaakov created and use it as a model of tempering His strict justice, din, with divine mercy, rachamim. Just as Yaakov integrated the chesed of his grandfather and the din of his father, we pray that by the end of Beraishis, Hashem will also integrate mercy within His judgment.

We live in an “age of anxiety” and that was even before the recent flow of events. Many of us strive for an equanimity or psychological stability in our lives. This goal has been made most difficult to achieve by the ongoing economic ills and the general challenges of living in the technological age. There is a quiet tension that lurks inside many of us. If I have emunah, faith, so why all the anxiety? I think that’s like asking, if I have yiras Shamayim, why do I ever sin? The answer is we all have lapses, but we add to our stress levels when we are self-critical, thinking that we aren’t authentic or genuine in our avodah. We often forget that many great people have had these common setbacks and challenges.

I saw an insight regarding Sarah Imeinu that resonated deeply considering the challenging backdrop in which we are living. The Reszher Rav, Rav Aaron Levine, commented on the life of Sarah being 127 years and the fact they were, as Chazal teach, “all equally for the good.” He suggests that she was an archetype for balanced, emotionally healthy living. She remained even-keeled despite numerous challenges: She is uprooted from her homeland and abducted by a foreign king. Yet, she also experiences great affluence and is the recipient of an enormous and miraculous Divine gift via the birth of Yitzchak. Amazingly, her basic decency and humanity isn’t impacted by either course of events. As Rudyard Kipling famously wrote, she “walks with kings without losing the common touch.” All her 127 years were “equally for the good.”

This maybe explains why death and marriage, a re births of sorts, as reflected in a wedding day being Yom Kippur for both the chassan and kallah. This is echoed by the sevens in Sheva Berachos and Sheva Yemi Aveilus and well as the juxtaposition of the burial of Sarah and the finding of a wife for Yitzchak. A wholesome spiritual life requires equilibrium. At the wedding, the pinnacle of joy, we reflect on the Churban, the destruction of the Temple. In mourning, we have limitations that don’t expand beyond a year. We balance and temper all emotions because when we are out of sorts, we can’t service the Divine in the requisite inspired fashion.

Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen

In Memory Of My Abba, Dr. Ivan Mauer

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Recently I went to a shiur on Yitzchak Avinu and found that it applied in many ways to my own father whose name was Yitzchak.

Yitzchak, the most ambiguous of the forefathers, is hard to describe. Avraham is closely associated with hachnasat orchim and chesed, and Yaakov is the father of our nation, B’nei Yisrael. Yitzchak is often described as serious, exacting, din, and yet his name is Yitzchak, to laugh, which seems to be a contradiction in terms.

How do we resolve this dichotomy?

Yitzchak was the paradigm of one who sees his existence as miraculous, as something that shouldn’t have been, someone who came into this world against all odds. Besides his parents having been too old to have a child, midrashim state that Sara didn’t have a womb. The laughter comes from the unexpected fact that he even exists. This keen sense of existence is balanced with an ability to laugh at the pure intensity of life. Yitzchak teaches us to laugh at ourselves, not to take ourselves too seriously, since life is almost too serious to comprehend. Yitzchak achieved the balance of knowing that the world was created for him yet we are all but dust of the earth.

Yitzchak came to teach us how to temper Avraham’s unlimited kindness, chesed. He introduced gemilut chasadim – limiting kindness. He was the first one in Tanach to be weaned, gemila, which teaches us in many aspects of our lives (relationship with our spouse, parenting, etc.) how we can wean ourselves from too much. Too much kindness, and too much giving which in many cases leads to being overwhelmed, frustrated and burnout.

And lastly, Yitzchak shows us the true meaning of laughter, a confident, mature laughter that comes from knowing that what you’re doing is right and that you’re on the right path. If someone chides you, be it on an individual level or on a national level, it is just that, a lighthearted, ignorant laughter.

As I focused on the healing powers of Yitzchak, I thought of my own Abba, Yitzchak ben Tzvi and Leah.

As a doctor, he was well aware of the fragility of life and yet cherished every moment and was able to “laugh” at the absolute miracle of living in this precarious world.

He taught me to enjoy each moment that is given to me and taught me through his example to persevere no matter what, since it’s G-d who gives life. And my father knew what was right even if it wasn’t popular or wasn’t the thing to do, like moving to a settlement in Israel. How proud he was of that. He would say don’t worry what other people say, “You’re doing the right thing.” Let them laugh. It’s not true laughter.

And like Yitzchak our forefather you were always filled with hakarat hatov.

I miss you terribly, every day. But like Yitzchak Avinu, your legacy lives on in your children and grandchildren who love you and continue to draw strength and laughter from you.

Michal Mauer Silverstein

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/in-memory-of-my-abba-dr-ivan-mauer/2012/11/28/

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