Heartwarming, inspiring stories of Jewish community

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  • #605556

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Coffee Room,

    I thought I would start a thread in this vein for posters to share stories of times they experienced in their lives that served to bring Jews of different cultural and learning backgrounds together.

    I want this to be a positive discussion. It is not a place to point out alleged negative aspects of various subgroups of Jews. It is not a place to say or imply that one subgroup is more correct, closer to what G-d wants, etc. It is not a place to use words to wound other posters in the Coffee Room.

    It is a place to share inspiration about the times you grew closer to your fellow Jew.

    Let us spread the good! 🙂

    #1023285

    As a Litvak from Kiryas Yoel working in Crown Heights, I interact with Yidden from all sorts of backgrounds. It is such a pleasure seeing Litvish boys learning in Chasidish Yeshivos and Satmar Yungerleit shteiging in Litvish Kollels. Seeing Bobover and Vishnitz and Klausenbergers children all in the same camp, spending two months together. Boys from Flatbush playing beautifully with boys from Boro Park. Girls from Williamsburg and Crown Heights working together. And Satmar Bikur Cholim helping Yidden from all backgrounds.

    #1023286

    tzaddiq
    Member

    this is a nice topic, aurora. +1 to you.

    here is a thought i had a year ago. sorry i know it’s not a story, but a powerful thought i had.

    i sat by a table once, by a modern orthodox wedding, with other chassidish cousins. there were several of us relatives there who were all different types. chassidish, modern orthodox, yeshivish etc. yet everyone was having a great time shmoozing with each other and enjoying each others’ company. it was almost a surreal scene, but it was so beautiful. then i realized something incredible that changed the way i look at yidden. and that is that we pretty much are all the same.

    we might dress differently, talk hebrew with different accents, and have a different nussach in davening. but at the end of the day we are all the same. we differ in literally only a handful of mitzvos – but then that’s it! if only we would mingle and shmooze, like we did that wedding night and just get to know each other, we would see how much the same we really are.

    #1023287

    ZeesKite
    Participant

    So, I see you love Jews too! (just kidding)

    My greatest inspiration continues to be in the summer months where we were the past many years. We have so many different types, levels, yet we’re all one unit and (as the man said) soulmates one another. You gotta see it to believe it. So many different outward appearances, dress codes, headgears. So many different Hashkafos too. Yet we all admire and grow from each other’s positive traits, each other’s ma’alos. As the pasuk says ????? ?? ??? ???? ?????? ??? ??????, (not really a pasuk). I get the niggling feeling that that is exactly what Am Yisroel is supposed to be like, so many wonderful, colorful stripes to the picture, yet one picture, one ?????. If mussar is in place, it’s only to better the recipient, not ?”? to antagonize, hurt.

    Thanks for starting this nice thread.

    (I know you were directing your post to me, you did write “Dear Coffee Room”, that’s my first home.)

    #1023288

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello The Litvishe Kiryas Yoelite and tzaddiq,

    Absolutely beautiful!! Thank you for sharing 🙂 To mingle and shmooze with each other is a wondrous thing — it kind of blows me away too, seeing how this People managed to survive, against all odds as it’s members were flung to the far corners of the earth. How fascinating to observe how the multitude of customs, ways, and practices evolved over time, like variations on the same musical theme.

    #1023289

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello ZeesKite,

    I hope you are well-charged on coffee during this storm — I myself am brewing a fresh pot as I type 🙂

    I like your analogy of the colorful stripes in a piece of art — like a tapestry or mosaic!

    #1023290

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Aurora

    I was in Barcelona, I speak Some Spanish and Hebrew

    Some was trying to ask me what was down a certain path and I tried to answer in Spanish, they did not understand, I then tried to answer in English as thats generally the universal language and they did not understand.

    They then walked away not knowing the answer and I heard them speak to each other in Hebrew. I then was able to answer them in Hebrew and they wondered how I knew it.

    Of course they knew I was american as I speak it with an american accent. They then invited me to Isarel to visit them

    #1023291

    hadassa
    Participant

    Am part of a 55+ community in Lakewood. We are made up of all types of Yidden (and Goyim) who get along. We have Chassidim, Litvish, Modern Orthodox, Baalei Teshuva, Giyorim, Yekkes, etc. We come from all around the country and abroad. We get along, learn from each other and help out each other!! It can be done. We all benefit.

    #1023292

    ZeesKite
    Participant

    Aurora,

    Actually, yes I’m plugged into my coffee, so I’ll be ready & charged in case of a brown out (where the brown, coffee, is out).

    In times of old there used to be twelve shevatim, tribes. Each one had a unique function and pathway to Avodas HaShem, servitude to HaShem. Each one actually had a unique color of stone represented on the choshen – breastplate of the cohen gadol. So our “coloring” goes a long time back.

    #1023293

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Any time I speak to a Jew in Hebrew I get another lesson in achdus. A great example happened over the summer when a chossid from Belgium and I both tried to give directions to an Argentinian sefardi. The three of us might not have spoken the same Hebrew but it’s our language.

    #1023294

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello zahavasdad, hadassa, and ItcheSrulik,

    Just reading your stories is very heartwarming — thank you for sharing what you did. It is amazing to be connected worldwide by a common language like a couple of you described. It must be such an inclusive feeling of being part of a larger whole. It is reassuring to know that there are communities like yours, hadassa.

    #1023295

    miritchka
    Member

    My block is composed of many different types of families from different sects. Yet, we all know that we can depend on our neighbors for company – whether it is to pass time, or for moral support. Last night when we lost power, I went outside because i was afraid to be inside and knew that my neighbors would be outside too waiting to help me or anyone else on our block to pass the time and give a bit of moral support during this black time…

    #1023296

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    I have had the zechus of having many different people coming to my house from many places and I was glad that we were able to communicate in a common language of yiddish.

    I have also been able to meet many gedolim in eretz yisroel, including R Shlomao Zalman, ZTL and R Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, R Aron Leib Shteinman Shlita and R Refoel Levine Ztl and because I understand Yioddish we were able to talk. The love of fellow yiddin was clearly apparent.

    #1023297

    just my hapence
    Participant

    nishdayngesheft – this is not a thread about how wonderful yiddish is. It is about how wonderful Yidden are.

    I have had the great zechus to work with many types of Jew from many places who do not speak yiddish, and was glad that we were able to communicate in a common language of English.

    I have also been able to meet many Gedolim in EY, including Rav Yaakov Hillel Shlita and Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel ZTZ’L and because I understand English we were able to talk. The love of fellow yidden was clearly apparent.

    #1023298

    shlishi
    Member

    I second nishtdayngesheft. It is truly hearwarming and demonstrates total achdus when communicating with Gedolei Yisroel and common Yidden as well from all over the world, all speaking different native tongues, in the common language of Yiddish. It makes ones Jewish heart swell with pride and Yiddishe nachas.

    #1023299

    just my hapence
    Participant

    shlishi – I hate to break it to you, but outside of Eretz Yisroel, certain parts of America, certain parts of the UK and Antwerp very few yidden actually speak yiddish. It cannot demonstrate ‘total achdus’ when pretty much no sephardim speak it and never did. I once asked the Mashgiach of Gateshead Yeshive why the top 2 shiurim are given in yiddish, despite the fact that more than 70% of the Talmidim do not speak it. He replied “Shiur daled is given in yiddish because the Rosh Yeshiva’s shiur is. The Rosh Yeshiva’s is because his father’s was. His father’s was because he couldn’t speak English properly.”

    #1023300

    shlishi
    Member

    Your comment is not correct at all. But in any event, Israel, America and the UK make up the bulk of worldwide frum Jewry.

    #1023301

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello posters on this thread,

    Please share your experiences of heartwarming, inspiring times of Jewish community. I know that those personal experiences can occur in the context of a common spoken language, and that that language could be one of several that Jews speak. But please, do not take this thread down the road of comparisons amongst the languages that various Jews speak. Please reread my initial post, and help us spread the good! Thank you 🙂

    #1023302

    just my hapence
    Participant

    shilishi – *sigh* I’m sure I said “certain areas”… In Gateshead it is hardly spoken except to give some of the shiurim in some of the yeshivas, in Manchester it is confined to about 7 streets and in London to about 1/2 of Stamford Hill. Hardly the majority. The majority of Jews in EY speak Ivrit, even in the Charedi and Chasidish enclaves. I have no idea about America but ‘total achdus’?! Nonsense.

    aurora77 – Sorry! That was really my intent in the first post (“this is not a thread about how wonderful yiddish is. It is about how wonderful Yidden are.”), sorry it lead away from your OP…

    #1023303

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    I don’t want to hijack this thread stared by aurora77, however i wonder what made just my hapence bothered about my comment while remamining mum about zdads? And R Nosson spoke yiddish as well.

    Anyway, a beautiful instatnce of Jewsih Communal Life is how the poeple of Kiryas Joel will drop anything for anyone who needs help. There are numerous stories of how they dropped everything to help people stuck on the highways near them, including giving their car to someone to replace a damaged car for someone on the way to the mountains. Without even knowing who the person is.

    #1023304

    Hatzalah (started by Satmar and serving every Jew), Satmar Bikur Cholim (serving every type of Jew in their time of medical need), Shomrim, Chaveirim, Gemach’s galore, Tzedakah organziations galore, etc. are all wonderful examples of heartwarming and inspiring stories of chesed in the Jewish community.

    #1023305

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    nishtdayngesheft: Yiddish binds ashkenazim the same way, no argument. I just happened to pick an example involving Hebrew, possibly because in my yeshiva we learn in Hebrew.

    Anyone who wants to hear stories about chessed, just talk to any Jew outside of a large community. As soon as there is a need our people step up.

    #1023306

    just my hapence
    Participant

    nishdayngesheft – I never actually read zahavasdad’s post. Yours was the last post when I looked at the thread (I sometimes simply skip from a few posts in to the end of a thread if I don’t have time to read every post…), so I commented on yours.

    My personal favourite story actually happened to me when I learned in the Mir a few years ago. I broke my toe the night before the general election. Now, in EY the buses do not run on election day leaving me with the task of making my way somehow to Terem (the walk-in medical centre) for an x-ray. As I hobbled my way down Rechov Shmuel Hanovi a taxi pulled up beside me and asked me if I’d hurt myself, when I replied I was going for an x-ray on my toe he told me to get in and he’d take me all the way across Yerusholaim for free. Only a Jew…

    #1023307

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello posters,

    Again, please stop the comparisons and back-and-forth on this thread. Please share your inspiring experiences here.

    #1023308

    avhaben
    Participant

    Every big Jewish city will have tons of Chesed organization for all kinds of needs, helping all kinds of people, day and night Yidden constantly helping one another.

    #1023309

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I was in Paris and I dont speak french at all. France is mostly sephardic today and you will meet jews from places you dont normally meet them from Like Algeria , Libya and Tunisia.

    Again I met a jew there who did not speak english and I do not speak french. We made very good friends and conversation in Hebrew. The Jews of Paris are the most friendly and warm that Ive ever met

    #1023310

    daniela
    Member

    In my very humble opinion, every Jewish story is inspiring and something to learn from, even the ones we don’t like. Did you finally get the chance to talk to a Rabbi? I hope he took some time to talk to you and paid attention (as opposed to phoning, texting, checking email etc), if he didnt, please consider he has loads of things to do, not enough time, not enough money, not enough power, and heartbreaking stories that flood him every day. This is true whatever Rabbi you talked to.

    #1023311

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello just my hapence, that is a wonderful story…it is amazing to me that there is a city where it is safe to take a ride from a stranger, and where a stranger would be so kind as to help you like that.

    #1023312

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello miritchka,

    It is heartening to know that there are such friendly, supportive neighborhoods like yours, with all kinds of people living there. I hope that the power has been rested where you are, and that you all are safe and well

    🙂

    #1023313

    aurora77
    Participant

    Make that “restored” (darn auto-spell!).

    #1023314

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello The Litvishe Kiryas Yoelite,

    I am coming to Orthodox Judaism after learning about my mother’s family history, so although I know a little bit about a couple of the groups you mentioned in your post, I do not know much. If you have any stories that you experienced in relation to these groups, or anything else, that impressed upon you the feeling of being a part of a warm, welcoming Jewish community, I would love to hear that story.

    #1023315

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Shlishi and nishtdayngesheft,

    It is inspiring to be able to communicate with people you have never met and know that they would do anything to help, based on your common bond. Were there any experiences that happened to you personally that really impressed this upon you in your daily life?

    #1023316

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello avhaben,

    I would love to hear about your own personal stories if you feel like sharing any…personal experiences are so powerful, and I find that they really have the power to inspire me and others! Sometimes, it’s the little things that happen — those that aren’t even related to an official organization devoted to charity — that can leave life-changing impressions.

    #1023317

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello zahavasdad,

    I’d love to hear about some of the welcoming ways of the Parisian Jews you met.

    #1023318

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Auora

    I hate Paris with a Passion, I refuse to go there ever again, but its not because of the jews there.

    Ive been around a bit and they were by far the most welcoming that Ive ever met. Definatly more than the British jews that I met and I certainly have a lot more in common with them than the french jews (Not just language, but ancestry as British jews are Ashkenazic and French jews are mostly Sephardic)

    I was invited by a stranger for Shabbos in London though (I was not in Paris for Shabbos so this never came up)

    They just seemed more friendly and tried to help me even with the Language problem (Not all French jews speak Hebrew, many just speak french)

    #1023319

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello zahavasdad,

    It sounds like you’ve had some great experiences abroad with welcoming Jewish communities…when you travel, do you usually seek out these communities, or do you tend to run into these outgoing people more randomly?

    #1023321

    147
    Participant

    British Jewry today is in an awful quandary about the world cup final:- We cannot support Germany, because Germany killed 6 Million Jews during the Holocaust. But we also cannot support Argentina, since they invaded the Falkland Islands during April 1982, and the Falkland Islands are clearly British. So what are We British Jewry supposed to be feeling & rooting for today?

    #1023322

    mmys
    Participant

    147, if you don’t mind me saying, you should be rooting for your fellow Yidden in EY and davening for them. The situation in EY is already Messi and the Arabs are way too Klose for comfort. And by the way, why choose this topic to make your comment?

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