Thursday, February 25

WAY too special not to share please read

The brand new Rabbi and his wife were newly assigned to their first congregation to reopen a Shul in suburban Brooklyn.  They arrived in early February excited about their opportunities.   When they saw their Shul, it was very run down and needed much work.  They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Erev Purim.  They worked hard, repairing aged pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on 8th of the Adar (February 17th) they were ahead of schedule and just about finished.  On February 19 a terrible snowstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.  On the 21st, the Rabbi went over to the Shul.  His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.  The Rabbi cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Erev Purim service, headed home.
On the way home, he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in.  One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory coloured, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colours and a Magen David embroidered right in the centre.  It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall.  He bought it and headed back to the Shul. By this time it had started to snow.   An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it.  The Rabbi invited her to wait in the warm Shul for the next bus 45 minutes later.  She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the Rabbi while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry.  The Rabbi could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.
Then the Rabbi noticed the woman walking down the centre aisle.  Her face was like a sheet.   "Rabbi, "she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?"  The Rabbi explained.  The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there.   They were.  These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Poland. The woman could hardly believe it as the Rabbi told how he had just gotten "The Tablecloth".
The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Poland. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave.  Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to a camp and never saw her husband or her home again.  The Rabbi wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the Rabbi keep it for the Shul.  The Rabbi insisted on driving her home.  That was the least he could do.  She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Erev Purim.  The Shul was almost full.  The Service was great. At the end of the service, the Rabbi and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.  One older man, whom the Rabbi recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the Rabbi wondered why he wasn't leaving.  The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Poland before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike?  He told the Rabbi how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a camp.  He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between.
The Rabbi asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride.  They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the Rabbi had taken the woman three days earlier.  He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Erev Purim reunion he could ever imagine.
The above is a true story. “God” does work in mysterious ways!
Take 60 seconds and give this a shot!   All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent this to you:
"Hashem, bless all my friends and family in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day!  May their lives be full of Your peace, prosperity and power as they seek to have a closer relationship with You.  Amen."
Now send it on to five other people, including the one who sent it to you.  Within hours five people have prayed for you and you caused a multitude of people to pray for other people.  Then, sit back and watch the power of Hashem work in your life.
PS:  Five is good, but more is better.  But only if you wish.   Nothing bad will happen to you if you don't send.  GOD BLESS and GZNT.

Monday, February 8

Step by Step - Penny for Penny

1st February 2016
To: All People Who Care
Parenting a special child can be hard. The constant care can be overwhelming; the costs and attendance to doctor's appointments and therapies can be stressful; and their child's development brings on new challenges every day.
What we do
Right now, over 130 disabled children are thriving. Step by Step provides them with special and sensitively tailored daily programs, together with a group of dedicated carers and volunteers. Step by Step are there for the special children and their families every day of the year - after school and when school is closed; before Pesach, Chol Homoed and Isru Chag, as well as both Summer and Winter holidays - with activities including horse-riding, swimming, ice-skating, cycling, Sunday clubs, trips, Shabbatons and sleep-away camps. These are designed to instill life skills, reduce isolation and create happy times.
Empowering families
We are there to support and to help the children as well as their families. We aim to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as their self-esteem and independence. Essentially we are giving parents the ability to cope on a daily basis and to keep their families happy. Parents continuously say, "If not for Step by Step we would never survive this challenge!"
What you can do
I have joined the "Step Ahead" campaign and I'm raising money for Step by Step to run two Shabbatons in the coming year. I have united with 250 girls to raise £30,000 because we care for those children and their families. I hope you will be able to assist me by donating to this essential cause. Any size donation is welcome and will go a long way in enabling another Shabbaton to take place. You will give these special children the best opportunity to enjoy themselves, whilst their families will enjoy a well-deserved Shabbos break.
I can't wait to share the project's success with you!
Please do not hesitate to contact me or Step by Step for more information and we look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for joining Step by Step to reach out and impact the lives of our special needs children and their families.

Best wishes,

Masha Scharf, South Tottenham, UK