The end of summer is a time of campaigns, when we are faced with back to school mania, primary elections, purchasing High Holiday seats, checking to make sure we have flood insurance against Nor’easters so powerful they make Irene look like a trickle. The weeks of comfort dwindle as we count off Re’eh, Shoftim, Ki Teitze… like stations on a train line as we approach our final destination, where our deeds are held to account.
Amid the stress, three local women, under the guidance of Rabbi Dovid Weinberger of Lawrence, launched the widely promoted Acts of Kindness initiative. This community generously opens its lawns for benefit concerts serving a variety of causes, where Yeshiva Gedolah of Five Towns students keep up the eruv each week, Hatzalah trucks blare to the rescue, Madraigos and Priority-1 maintain Torah observance among our teens, while Project Inspire spreads Torah observance to the wider public. Kulanu looks out for the special needs that go beyond the parents’ abilities, and Achiezer appears to fulfill almost anything related to crisis. Perhaps we missed out on an organization? Of course we did, there are so many acts of kindness in the community.
As each of us adopts a top cause, putting our hands, time, and funds into it, we should not neglect interpersonal relations and the ability to help each other. Each of us has stories where we have provided or received kindness. Rabbi Paysach Krohn is a leading maggid living among us, collecting thousands of stories of kindness for his books and lectures. Likewise, Charlie Harary, a man of many professions, but to most of us, he is better known as an inspiring storyteller. Within the 40 days of Elul and the Yamim Noraim, our community can add to their collection of stories.
It’s simple. We will listen, guide, lift, feed, host, watch, guard, comfort, teach, and more. As the yamim noraim approach, many of us will make calls, asking for mechila but not remembering the specifics. This year, we can accompany this perfunctory phone call with acts of kindness. What can this newspaper do at this time? We will continue to promote gemilut chasadim on these pages.
On occasion, notices of the numerous fundraising concerts and dinners do not reach us, and we must catch up after the event. When an advertisement or invitation gets lost, we still write about the event in our news coverage and community calendar.
A newspaper is a business, but it is also a mission with a message. We do so with accuracy and to the benefit of those fine institutions and individuals. When we have missed the mark, we enter this month with pause, and ask for mechila. In Elul, Rabbi Weinberger best summarizes the mission. “Our chesed will bring rachamim from above. It will tip the scales in our favor.”