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Pesach in Turkey

A co-worker of mine is going to be in Turkey for Pesach. He asked me if I knew how he could find out information about the synagogues in Istanbul so that he could find a place to attend a seder. I suggested Chabad but he said he would prefer to do something else if at all possible. I told him I would look into it and see what I could find out.

I sent out an e-mail to some of my friends who I thought might have information to help him. In less than 12 hours, I received an e-mail from a friend of a friend of a friend who had spent the past year in Istanbul and knew several options for him to attend a seder during his visit. This individual, who I have never met or even heard about, offered all his information, and even offered to get together with my co-worker for dinner or coffee and tell him all about what there is to offer in Istanbul.

It's not a huge thing, but it really is. Because of this person I have never met, my co-worker will now be able to attend a seder with a family in Turkey. And that meant a lot to him.

By: Shoshana | Friday, December 29, 2006 at 12/29/2006 08:24:00 AM | |

It's nice to be taken care of when you're sick.

I am sick right now. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that it would probably be easier to list what isn't wrong with me right now, rather than what is.

This being the case, I was on my way home from work yesterday (don't ask why I was at work when I was sick, I don't want to get into it) and I ran into a friend leaving the subway station. She took one look at me and asked if I was okay, and since the answer was clearly "No", I didn't lie and say I was fine. She asked what she could do, starting with offering me tea and vitamins and also mentioning she was going to the supermarket so she could pick something up if I needed it. I took her up on the tea and vitamin C, and I asked her to get me yogurt because it's smooth and cool going down one's throat.

She came by my apartment shortly afterwards, and not only did she bring me tea and vitamin C and yogurt, but she'd also bought me chicken soup. And she wouldn't even let me discuss paying her back.

So, like I said--it's nice to be taken care of when you're sick.

By: Scraps | Thursday, December 28, 2006 at 12/28/2006 10:51:00 AM | |

Kindness in Tsfat

Eizer L'Shabbos does unbelievable acts of kindness each day to help needy people in the city of Tsfat. I spoke with the founder Rabbi Binyomin Rosenberg on Monday evening and wrote about it here.

Videos showing their activities can be viewed on their website here.

By: A Simple Jew | Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 12/27/2006 08:40:00 AM | |

An Amazing Update

[Update to this post]

From our company, this morning:
I want to let everyone know some heartwarming news. We as a group raised $30,000 for Lucy Haller’s family! This is an outstanding amount which will double with the firm match. It’s heartwarming to know that people do care, some for a friend and colleague, and some for a person whom they did not even know.
Kindness truly exists.

By: Unknown | Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 12/26/2006 02:50:00 PM | |

Kindness Happens Link Button

Please feel free to use the button to link to this blog and spread kindness throughout the world via the blogosphere!

By: Sarah Likes Green | Monday, December 25, 2006 at 12/25/2006 11:34:00 AM | |

Returned Wallet...

And from a New Yorker, no less!

Thanks to Shira Salamone, who sent in this story of kindness.

By: Shoshana | Sunday, December 24, 2006 at 12/24/2006 09:06:00 AM | |

$255 For Free

Today I went with my mother to the opera. It featured a number of great singers, and thus brought on a full house. I barely managed to snatch away a couple $20 orchestra standing room tickets. It was a very long pieces, and neither of us was looking forward to standing the entire time. Unfortunately, we couldn't switch places, because there was no room whatsoever. So we were stuck in the back, barely able to see behind the backs of much taller people standing in front of us, even with binoculars. By the time Act III ended, we were exhausted. Our legs were killing us. Suddenly, during the intermission, one of the security workers approached us and told us that a couple left early and gave him their tickets. He was wondering whether we were interested in taking them. The tickets were worth $255 each and offered a fabulous view in the sixth row from the orchestra. In the center. It was fantastic. I couldn't help but wonder at how considerate the couple was. They could have just left and thrown away their tickets; instead, they made sure to give someone else an opportunity to get a good view for the rest of the opera. Secondly, I was amazed that we, of all people, were chosen. It was a mixture of incredible luck and kindness on the part of complete strangers, who didn't even know who they were given the tickets to. I wish them all the best, whoever they are. (And of course, add in the additional doze of gratitude for being saved from having to stand for even longer time.)

By: Irina Tsukerman | Saturday, December 23, 2006 at 12/23/2006 08:07:00 PM | |

The Tollbooth Operator

We were traveling yesterday from New York to Cleveland for the last days of Chanukah, to spend Shabbos with my parents and visit my grandmother who just turned 93 this week (or next week, depending on the calendar). My grandparents in New York are on their way to Boston to see their newest great-grandchild, and gave us their car for the weekend while my aunt and uncle picked them up by going out of their way from Philadelphia. Meanwhile, my brother drove me over to my grandparents to get the car - lots of car kindness all around. :)

But none of that matched the kindness we received while on the way. As we were driving, I realized that we had an EZ-Pass to pay for the tolls... in New York and Pennsylvania. But there's one last toll in Ohio, right before we get off the highway as we get near Cleveland - and Ohio doesn't have EZ-Pass yet. More importantly, I almost never carry cash. I pull up to the booth, unsure what to do, hoping that the toll will be some minuscule amount... after all, my brother had given me a quarter for "shliach mitzvah gelt" as I left. I quickly opened up all the small compartments in the car, hoping to find some change... but there was none. Serach didn't have any cash either. I open the window, and as I wish the officer a good evening, I mention that I may have a problem: I don't have any cash. The toll amount comes on as I hand him the ticket - it's $1.15. I try to find the quarter, while he asks if I come around here often; I don't think I've driven to Cleveland since well before I was married, if ever.

He's smiling the whole time, while I check my wallet once again, see if I happen to have a dollar, trying to dig out the quarter, when I see him doing something with the register. He says, "It's all right, don't worry about it." I start wondering if he's just going to wave me through, as I finally dig out the quarter. All of a sudden, the rest of what he said clicks, and I turn and stare:
"I got it."
He was opening up his own wallet, taking out a dollar and a quarter, and putting it in the register. He was about to put in fifteen cents when I finally thrust over the quarter - and he insisted on giving me back the dime of change that he'd taken out. He wouldn't just wave someone through - he actually paid it out of his own pocket. I was so amazed, and there was someone waiting behind me, but I tried to apologize and say that I would give an extra dollar my next time through and wished him Happy Holidays - but I didn't think to get the officer's name until after I'd driven away.

Wow - what a kind-hearted soul, taking the money which he surely could use out of his own pocket. I'm still in shock. Happy Chanukah - and Holidays - to all.

By: Unknown | Friday, December 22, 2006 at 12/22/2006 11:18:00 AM | |

New Chanuka Film

Here's a new film by Gil Ronen.

Happy Chanuka!

By: PsychoToddler | at 12/22/2006 09:31:00 AM | |

Unexpected kindness

When I saw that Ezzie and Shoshana had started this blog, it immediately sparked something in me. So often, we're quick to complain when things aren't good, when people are rude and inconsiderate, but we aren't as vocal about the good experiences we have.

It brought to mind my latest post, about my own unexpected (and very welcome!) experience of kindness in a place that is not always noted for its friendly people. I asked Shoshana if I could join and repost it here, and she said yes, so here it is: Phew! There ARE nice people after all!

I hope you all enjoy it. :)

By: Scraps | Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 12/21/2006 10:29:00 AM | |

Doubling Kindness

In the accounting firm I work at, a frum woman named Lucy Haller passed away recently. The company is a huge company with thousands of employees around the country - including over 600 in our branch alone. Yet, they did an incredible act of kindness and opened up a collection for her family in her honor. This is the letter a manager in the firm wrote at the time:
As some of you may have already heard, Lucy Haller passed away last Thursday, November 30th, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was only 37 years young and was the mother of two children, 6 and 8 years old. She was a tax manager in the Financial Services group who started with us [redacted] back in August of 2005. In her time with us, we grew to love and appreciate her as a person and as someone who could make us laugh at the drop of a hat. She never really let on as to what she was going through nor all of the hardships that she had gone through in the past.

Some of you may be wondering what the point of this e-mail is. Well, in one sense, it's to tell you all about a special and wonderful person who is sadly not with us anymore. The more important reason is to ask for your help. We would like to take up a collection for her family to help them through this very difficult time. As I stated earlier, she left behind two beautiful young children and a husband who is now faced with an emotional and financial struggle to raise two children without there mother.

Therefore, whatever you would like to contribute would be greatly appreciated. We would like to have all collections in to me by December 13th. Also, please note that our office here in New York has agreed to match whatever we collect. Therefore, please give what you can and only if you can. The gift is what matters and not the dollar amount.
Thousands of dollars came in from around the world, including from many people who never even knew Lucy or just how nice she was. The firm matched each and every dollar that was brought in. That is double kindness.

I'm not sure what impressed me more: That the firm did such a thing, or that there were so many people who sent in money despite not knowing Lucy whatsoever. There are so many kind people around the world... it's time to start hearing more about it.

By: Unknown | at 12/21/2006 10:08:00 AM | |

A Couple Kind Stories

Here are a couple stories of beautiful kindness:

From Aidel Maidel

From Mimi

By: Shoshana | Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 12/20/2006 03:46:00 PM | |

The community comes alive....

For those of you who have not seen my blog we recently were blessed with a son. A neighbor of mine asked if we would be needing meals since my wife and I would really have our hands full. We said yes and she went right to work calling the shul and getting their network together. We got meals for over a weak as well as shabbos meals delivered to our door. The amount of food we received was enough to feed an army, I kid you not! What kind of food did people send? Here is a list: Baked Ziti, Salads, Garlic Bread, Pasta w/ground meat and sauce, Latkes, Challah, BBQ Chicken, Schnitzel, Gefilte fish, Pumpkin pie, Broccoli Keish Pie and more.... My wife and I were very surprised at the outpouring of chesed from the community and now have many thank you cards to send out.

By: AS | at 12/20/2006 02:42:00 PM | |

Post One

After my grandmother passed away this Sunday, my family was worried that we would not have enough men at the funeral to make a minyan for Kaddish. The rabbi of my shul made sure that with a only day's notice, enough guys from our synagogue would be there to help make the minyan. We had only moved to this community a year ago and even though I know these guys from seeing them around, I am not close to any of them. Yet five guys took time off their busy day to help bury my grandmother, whom they never met.

By: e-kvetcher | at 12/20/2006 01:31:00 PM | |

Welcome to Kindness Happens!

Fires, wars, murders, drugs. Too often, we read in newspapers and see all over the TV and Internet the bad things going on in the world.

But what really makes the world go round is kindness, those little acts that often go unnoticed by all but those involved. Because these small acts don't get published and publicized, people often don't believe they actually happen. So it's time to share! This blog is for posting those small acts of kindness that you do for others, or that others do for you. Hopefully, in having this group effort, people will be able to read about a number of kind acts happening daily and will feel better about life, and then hopefully, in turn, go on to carry out kind acts of their own.

We would love this to be a group effort, so if you would like to join in, please send me an e-mail and I'll invite you to join the blog.

By: Shoshana | at 12/20/2006 12:44:00 PM | |