With the start of the school year, Ezra Academy has added many new aspects to what they are offering and providing to their students. One of these is an amazing new program called Operation Ezra. This is a chesed division, where the students look to help their communities by doing chesed where needed. This is not simply a one-time activity, but rather an ongoing and continuously evolving division of their extracurricular department. Operation Ezra is comprised of students who understand the importance of helping others and are looking to make a difference. They are led by Mrs. Rena Solomon.
The first project of the year was building sukkos within the community for those who were unable to do so for themselves. While many people in that situation hire people to build theirs, some unfortunately aren’t in the position to do that either. Operation Ezra reached out to community leaders who provided them with a list of people in need of their assistance. Mrs. Solomon led a team of faculty and students in building multiple sukkos around Queens. Below is a letter received by Ezra Academy from one of the beneficiaries of the sukkah building:
The mitzvah of sukkah building for my aging parents has traditionally been my responsibility: year after year, from the garage and around to the backyard and then up the 11 steps and onto the deck. And then the assembly began of nearly 20 panels, followed by the rolling out of the s’chach and then the lighting and wiring. One can only imagine. It was this year that I noticed that I too am aging and simply could not get it done, and hiring a crew to have it built was not an option, unfortunately, or perhaps, actually fortunately?
I didn’t know how to break the news to my parents, as Sukkos has always been their favorite of all Jewish holidays: outdoor dining and singing along with guests, “mamash mei’ein Olam HaBa” for them as far as I can remember, when I was a child growing up in their home and until today. As I discussed the heartbreaking situation with my wife, she assured me that there must be a solution. And very soon after, she notified me that she located a group of young men who will come and get the job done! I was so relieved but also shocked! Whom did she find? Who does such a thing?
On the afternoon of Tuesday, September 14, my mother calls me and excitedly asks me to stop by in order to direct these young men regarding the building details. I arrived at their home to a scene that I never imagined. Eight young men merrily carrying and connecting panels under the guidance of their joyous rabbi. I understood immediately that this was a rare experience of observing a group of living physical mal’achim (angels) who were selflessly carrying out a task for the mere mitzvah aspect of it! The radiance and glow on their smiling faces was such that I have never witnessed before in my 47 years on Earth, due to its genuineness and purity.
I came to learn shortly that these mal’achim were Rabbi Fink and his talmidim from Ezra Academy. I realized swiftly what this institution nurtures in their students and exemplifies through their rabbanim. I would like to sincerely thank and simultaneously commend Ezra Academy for the attributes witnessed that day, which gave our family hope and simchah – simchah that they incorporated into their building of my parents’ sukkah, and simchah that will be felt throughout Sukkos and that will endure for my parents throughout the year, b’ezras Hashem.
Thanks to Ezra Academy, this year Sukkos will be a true Z’man Simchaseinu for us all.
Operation Ezra is more than happy to help in any and all chesed opportunities that might present themselves. Feel free to reach out to Ezra Academy if you would like to work with Operation Ezra or need their assistance.