I always say that a speaker loves to get some kind of feedback when he concludes his speech, even if it’s just “sh’koiach!” It means that at least someone noticed that he was speaking. The same is true with a writer. Even the most seasoned writer still loves to hear some kind of acknowledgement of his thoughts. Naturally, positive feedback is much more appreciated than negative. But negative feedback is better than no feedback. At least someone paid attention to the fact that you wrote something.
I won’t call myself a seasoned writer, but I have been fortunate to write for the Queens Jewish Link for about five years. I am grateful to the kind feedback I often get. I may not make a big issue of it, but trust me – it is very meaningful to me. As for the negative feedback... well, you are entitled to your wrong opinion.
My article last week, titled “Cedar Trees Among Us,” generated a lot of positive feedback. Jews love to hear good news about other Jews, especially during these times when we are fed so much negative news. That, in turn, generated quite a few people letting me know of other chesed projects going on during these difficult times.
So I have sent along several pictures of nice undertakings by individuals and yeshivos/day schools, some beyond Queens. Our local Bais Yaakov [Academy of Queens] sent a wonderful message of appreciation to their teachers, which accompanied personalized bentchers. A day school in Houston placed a touching lawn message to each teacher for their online efforts. A girls’ yeshivah in Chicago is sending fully catered meals for their teaching staff this Shabbos. I am sure many schools in our neighborhood are sending similar gestures, but these are the ones that came to my attention.
Flowers and a touching message were delivered this past Friday to women who are home alone by a volunteer group called “Kew Gardens Hills Kares.” I heard from several women who were very moved by receiving those flowers. The organizers want no credit and refuse to be personally identified. “Abba’s Chicken Soup” was quite literally cooked up in a neighborhood member’s house. They send as many orders as they can handle to individuals who may find it difficult to cook for Shabbos themselves. I know “Abba.” The kashrus is beyond question. Somebody suggested that they name it “Chicken Soup for Shabbos,” but “Abba’s” has a more personal touch to it.
As I am writing these lines, a volunteer group is arranging for blood plasma donations in the YIKGH parking lot, with the involvement of a number of agencies. The list goes on.
I would like to suggest that the QJL consider having a weekly column where people can send in brief accounts and pictures of the chesed taking place in Queens during these times of crisis. Maybe it should be a permanent weekly feature.
I wish everyone good news and good health. Remember, we are a great People. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.