On Thursday morning, I was looking at Facebook when I noticed a post in the Englewood Today group about a local family who lost everything in a fire at their home in Englewood on Christmas Day. The charity I volunteer for, Sharing Seats (www.sharingseats.org), receives requests from kids facing adversity all over the United States, so I have seen and heard it all, but for some reason this situation hit very close to home. I immediately made the decision that I would do everything I could to help this family raise their spirits and get back on their feet.
I knew that the Englewood Jewish community, that I have been a part of for over 15 years, would rally together for the greater community. The scripture says, “Greater is the person who gets other persons to do good deeds than for them do it themselves.” Therefore, I decided I would not only get my temple, Kesher, involved, but I would invite all of the Orthodox shuls in the area to participate in this effort. I was able to get the ages and sizes of all the family members and sent the information to the three Orthodox temples in the area. Within a matter of hours, I got a huge response from people wanting to help. I reached out to Cheryl Rosenberg, Englewood’s First Ward Council Woman, who was eager to help and was able to connect me with the family directly.
Through Kesher Center and Sharing Seats, we were able to secure four great seats, a parking pass, field passes and spending money for the family to attend the New York Giants game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, December 30. I surprised the family in person, on Saturday evening, with the tickets and let them know that there would be more special gifts to come. Congregation Ahavath Torah started a collection of clothing and supplies for the family. One family from East Hill Synagogue saw the email and took the family on a shopping spree at Target. Another local family, who is always asking me for ways they can help, answered my call even though they were deplaning from Israel. The family immediately got off the phone with me and connected with the family in need about what they could buy for them as they waited for their luggage at the airport.
Chesed starts in your own backyard and community first. We saw a family in need and despite being strangers to us, we all came together to help them and started a relationship built on kindness. There are so many opportunities to do good in this world; sometimes you find them, and sometimes they find you. Either way, if you want to see or feel real happiness, getting involved is the first step. We teach our kids through our actions and when they see us doing chesed and bringing joy to other people they want to get involved too. If you find yourself reading this and want to give back in some way, please consider making a donation to Sharing Seats. A little goes a long way.
By Mike Dube
Mike Dube is a resident of Englewood and co-founder of Sharing Seats.