02 November 2012

What Else Are You Going to Do?

Yesterday a phenomenal effort from hundreds of volunteers, led in the kitchen by Rozanne Gold, Michael Whiteman and Marc Federman.  600 sandwiches (peanut butter & jelly and turkey), grapes and bananas for the Park Slope Armory, which is housing evacuated elderly patients from flooded nursing homes in South Brooklyn.

Hundreds of pounds of dry goods, batteries, flashlights and candles sent over to Red Hook in several shifts, continuing through the weekend; the gym, social hall, pool and basketball court open for restless kids and families; placing orders for food to prep for hundreds more throughout the weekend; Jonathan Safran Foer introducing Paul Auster and Don DeLillo at the end of the night.  But then a call for volunteers with eggs--800 eggs that became 3000 eggs.  And then someone from the Department of Homeless Services asked if we could be a drop-off center for clothes for the now homeless residents of Breezy Point (yes, of course.)  And then at around 8:30 pm a truck from Masbia showed up with hundreds of pounds of carrots, potatoes, squash, onions, green beans, bread, eggs (more eggs), and sliced kosher turkey.

Our Scribe, writing our new Torah, is using a turkey feather.  It says in the Torah, "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Seems sensible.

Today breakfast is already served--dozens showed up at 5:15 am to prepare bagels, cream cheese, butter and yes, eggs.

Today lunch for 600 again.  And then Saturday lunch and Saturday night dinner.

Did I mention that in the midst of this week we signed up 34 people to go to Israel in February?

9:30 am this morning we gather as a community to lay to rest Jake Vogelman, one of the sweetest young men I've ever known.  Jake was killed on Monday night with his dear friend Jessie Streich-Kest, while out walking a dog.  A tragedy, an unjust moment in a world in need of justice.  Sunday, our friends from Park Slope Presbyterian, who rent space for their worship, will end early so that Kolot Chayeinu can memorialize Jessie out of our sanctuary at 1 pm.

The human capacity to love, to work together, to draw meaning from the seemingly inexplicable, is truly an awesome power.

Walking home in a moment of quiet last night, I thought of Mom.  Up there in heaven, rubbing her head as I saw her do so much in those closing months of cancer, slowly thinking.  An election is on; a community rallies in the face of a storm; lives are lost and lives are being saved.  She shakes her head at the wonder of it all.

But there's that look in her eye--a look I'll always remember.  It says, "What else are you going to do?"

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Andy, I have been so impressed at how you have led your community -- spiritually and logistically -- in the past few days. Thank you for your leadership, and thank you also for sharing the opportunity to get involved, and to feel part of your extraordinary community even from afar through your blog posts, Facebook photos, etc. May Jake and Jessie's memories be a blessing.