(The link that was previously there was for a different article)

From the desk of Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank, MS, BCC
Director of Programming, Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
Friday, January 14, 2022- Shevat 12, 5782 ============================================================================
Kiddush H – Once Again
Mazel Tov to Yehuda Topper 1st Orthodox Jewish Police Officer in the entire State of Florida

Kiddush H – Once Again
Jewish groups helping Bronx fire victims- Also, NYPD Inspector Richie Taylor.
It is so important to make a good impression.
Whatever we do, should be Lesheim Shamayim.
The importance of compassion, of caring, being an erlicha Yid.
Having the Shechina in our homes and in our hearts.

An interesting but important article “Thousands of coma patients may be conscious
but we’re ignoring them, says pioneering neuroscientist”.

(“It is usually presumed that a person in a vegetative state has no awareness of the world around them. Dr. Adrian Owen, who pioneered groundbreaking research that has proven otherwise, explains why we need to be talking to these patients “). This article by Dr. Adrian Owen, published December 31st, 2021 in the BCC Science Focus Magazine was sent to me by Chayim Aruchim and is found towards the end of my article. Though not included in Dr. Owen’s article, healthcare chaplains encourage care givers, family etc. to speak to their loved ones and when appropriate to hold or gently caress their hands even when in a coma/ vegetative state.
From Darash Moshe (English version) Artscroll Judaica Classics Mesorah Publications Ltd Parshas Bo page 107-108) Hachodesh Hazeh Lawchem Rosh Chawdawshim This month shall be for you the beginning of the months (12:2). Rashi comments that this verse teaches that Nissan is to be the first in the order in which months are counted, while all the others are to be counted after it : Iyar is the second month, Sivan the third, and so on. The reason for this requirement is simple. For Jews, it is not enough to believe merely that H created the world, for which Shabbos is our sign and our everlasting covenant; we must also believe that H still continues to be the Creator and the Ruler of everything that happens to any human or animal. This is the lesson of the plagues and the Exodus, as narrated in the Torah. This is why Nissan, the month in which the Exodus occurred, was chosen to be the first of the months, as a sign of H’s ongoing rulership over all people and events.

In A Vort from Rav Pam by Rabbi Sholom Smith Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd Parshas Beshalach pages 97-98) It can be done (5757.1997) “This is my G and I will beautify Him; the G of my father and I will exalt Him (15:2) The Targum Onkelos translate the above pasuk as, “ I will build a Sanctuary for Him,” a reference to the time when Klal Yisrael will construct a Beis Hamikdash as the ultimate expression of beautifying and exalting H. A broader meaning can be inferred from this pasuk since it was said by each and every Jew at Krias Yam Suf (Splitting of the Sea):Every person has the ability to build a sanctuary for the Shechinah in his own home and heart. This is what Chazzal comment on the pasuk in Parshas Terumah (25:8), They shall make a Sanctuary for Me- so that I may dwell among them. It does not say ‘so that I many dwell in it’( the Mishkan) but ‘amongst them’- to symbolize that the Shechinah dwells inside the homes and hearts of every Jew. How does a person have the audacity to invite the Shechinah, as it were, to his humble abode? The answer is, as Rashi comments on the words, The G of my father, that “I am not the beginning of holiness. Rather, holiness and G lines are firmly established upon me from the days of my forefathers.” A Jew must never forget that Torah and mitzvos are a heritage from his ancestors, and his task in life is to aspire to reach the madreigos ( spiritual levels) of his forebears. When a person realize that embedded in his genes is a spiritual legacy stretching back thousands of years it will give him the impetus to strive for great heights in the service of H. Nothing will be too hard for him, nothing will be in the category of impossible. And, as the Gemara( Yoma 39a) says, “When a person sanctifies himself a little, ( Heaven) sanctifies him a lot.” This will assist him in attaining great achievements that would seem to be well above the level of his natural abilities, and will make his home a worthy dwelling place for the Shechinah”.

( For those who knew Rebbitzen Pam A”H Rav Pam’s wife, and their relationship to each other, their family and to Klal Yisrael they were role models of bringing the sanctity and love of the Ribono shel Olam in their homes and their hearts. They were so loving and caring for Klal Yisrael).

It is important in the eyes of the world to learn, to witness, to be the recipient of kindness from an Orthodox Jew. In New York City there are many occurrences of goodness and kindness from men and women in many different positions. You have read about Richie Taylor rising through the ranks of the New York City Police Department, presently the rank of Inspector proudly wearing his yalmuka. But it isn’t the yarlmuka that stands out, it is how fellow New Yorkers of all walks of life see him as a kind, caring, sincere, compassionate person always seeking ways to bring peace and tranquility amongst and between diverse people. He has been involved in many situations police wise that has brought him the respect and admiration of police officers of all ranks for the sometimes dangerous, challenging situations and jobs he was assigned to do, bringing much pride to the NYPD and the City of New York. Yet, he does so with tremendous undertaking, understanding and willingness to do what is right. He is an amazing human being and a tremendous and remarkable ambassador of Klal Yisrael and especially the Ribono shel Olam.

The latest news seen in the news media is about the first Orthodox Jewish police officer in the entire state of Florida- Yehuda Topper. North Miami Beach Police Department has hired Florida’s first Orthodox Jewish police officer. Yehuda Topper who previously served 5 years in the NYPD, was sworn in on Thursday night in North Miami Beach, Florida. Yehuda Topper, will be off Saturdays to observe Shabbos, was sworn in on Thursday evening at the Senator Gwen Margolis Amphitheatre.“ The Sabbath is the 7th day God rested” said Yehuda excitedly when asked about why he wont be patrolling over Shabbos. Arthur Sorrey, the city manager, said it was also the first time the department hired an officer who is a practicing Orthodox Jew. “It’s a big deal for us,” Sorrey said, adding the city has a large Orthodox Jewish community.

Orthodox Jewish groups have been mobilizing to assist residents of a high-rise apartment building in the Bronx, N.Y., after a Sunday-morning fire killed 17 people—eight of them children—in what’s being called the worst fire in New York City in more than 30 years. “We’ve lost 19 of our neighbors today. It’s a tragedy beyond measure,” said Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday. “Thank you to the men and women of the FDNY [Fire Department of] for fighting so valiantly against today’s five-alarm fire in the Bronx. An investigation into what happened is underway. To everyone affected by this tragedy: Your city will be with you in the days ahead.” In addition to those who lost their lives, dozens of other people remain hospitalized for injuries sustained during the evacuation, and hundreds are now homeless. According to city officials, the fire was started by a faulty space heater. Among the Jewish groups stepping up to help were volunteers from Shomrim, a community security and assistance organization, teamed up with staff from Masbia Soup Kitchen, both based in the Chassidic neighborhood of Borough Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. They stopped in at a local supermarket—Bingo, which is nicknamed the kosher Costco for its warehouse-style shopping—on Sunday and purchased nearly $5,000 worth of essentials such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and shampoo, along with cookies, energy drinks and bottles of water (even brand-new towels) and delivered them to a staging site for those who lost their homes in the fire.They filled four SUVs driven by Shomrim members and an additional three SUVs they ordered from Uber with the materials, along with cooking utensils, a portable stove and propane tanks from the Masbia offices. Executive director Alexander Rapaport also reached out to a caterer for additional foods like chicken nuggets, rice and hot soup.According to Motty Brauner, coordinator of Shomrim of Boro Park, some 25 to 30 volunteers from Shomrim in several locales in Brooklyn, including the Jewish neighborhoods of Flatbush and Crown Heights, were among those who helped out.“We normally respond to concerns in our primary coverage, but we head out to wherever people call us or we are needed. In this particular incident, we were needed for relief in the first few hours, helping people with food and toiletries, and we stayed on-site for a couple of hours until everyone got what they wanted,” he said. “This incident is very sad, but to see the smiles on their faces—that people from the outside came to help and had them in my mind—that’s priceless,” he added. As for Rapaport, while his team was setting up a Masbia food tent outside, “an older African-American man came over and hugged me and hugged me, and wouldn’t stop.” “It’s not what you give a person; it’s that you care and show up that they see they are not alone,” he said. “It’s just so helpful to the people going through such a situation; it shows they don’t have to suffer in isolation, and that people care and want to give you comfort.” Masbia is also undertaking some additional measures to help the families. They were planning to visit the hotels housing the fire victims on Monday afternoon and deliver dozens of pizza makers, which can be used to grill a variety of items without a stove or fire, so families can make some of their own meals along with giving them food provisions. They are also in talks to provide brand-new appliances once the families can move into a new home. Our small part in making lives a little better’ Rabbi Choli Mishuvalin, director of Chabad of the South Bronx, and his father-in-law, Rabbi Chayim Alevsky of Chabad of the West Side, also provided aid on Sunday night, taking turns handing out soup in Masbia’s pop-up tent. Mishulavin has set up a fund to purchase items for the families. “Our hearts are hurting for the tragic loss of life, and all our Bronx neighbors in pain right now,” he wrote on Facebook Monday morning. “We’re raising 5k for the fire victims to purchase clothes and household items to get back on their feet. We’re one family; let’s take care of each other. A little bit with a lot of heart goes a long way!” The Riverdale Jewish Center, which is located a few miles away in another Bronx neighborhood, is working with their local state senator, Alessandra Biaggi, to serve as an official drop-off location for essential supplies for families affected and health-care workers on the scene. “Our membership at the Riverdale Jewish Center thinks constantly about its role in the greater Bronx community. We build active and vibrant relationships with local elected officials and government exactly for situations like this,” said the congregation’s senior rabbi, Dovid Zirkind. “When news broke of the devastating fire just a few miles from our community, our members were eager to act, and our leadership was quick to partner with our senators and ongresspeople to find out how best we could serve. “Financial contributions, basic supplies and offers to deliver anything and everything have been coming in rapidly since yesterday,” he said. “We are proud to do our small part in making the lives of those affected a little better during a difficult time.” SAR Academy, a Jewish preschool through 12th-grade school also in Riverdale, has started an emergency fund to help the families who have been displaced by the fire.“Our SAR community is saddened to hear of the devastating fire that took so many lives and injured many in an apartment building just three miles from our school. In addition to the loss of life and injuries, many families have been displaced and have suffered immeasurable loss,” said a message to parents. “At this time, as so many families will face long-term challenges, raising funds has been identified as the best way we can help. … We will also be collecting clothing, canned and packaged foods, and other supplies at the front of the academy building.” The school also announced that students would be reciting Tehillim “to bring healing to all of our neighbors who are suffering.” The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York is also working on providing assistance, though that is still in the planning stages.“ … [W]e offer our hearts and help to the residents of the community affected, many of whom are African Muslims,” said the JCRC in a statement. “We are grateful to our longtime partner, Sheikh Musa Drammeh, for being on the scene to console the community at this devastating time, and we are in active discussion about how to best help the victims with this trauma. We also thank the FDNY [Fire Department of New York], many of whom risked their lives without oxygen tanks, for their bravery and heroism in rescuing the victims.” JNS.ORG { January11, 2022)

Every Orthodox Jewish person is an ambassador. Making a Kiddush H with wonderful midos is tremendously praiseworthy. Knowing that H is the Creator and Ruler of the world, the importance of our Torah and mitzvos, acknowledging who and what we are and our relationship with the Ribono shel Olam is so vital. The desire to have the Shechinah in our homes and our hearts plays an important role in the life we wish to have. Being an ambassador of Klal Yisrael and the Ribono shel Olam is an awesome responsibility, but worthy of H’s kindness and goodness to us. As what Rav Pam said “ In the last paragraph from the book Shabbos with Rav Pam by Rabbi Sholom Smith Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd, Parshas Beshalach page 107) “ H deals with people in the manner in which they deal with their fellow human beings, If we strive to act in a considerate, gracious manner and with a warm, cheerful countenance to those less fortunate than us, this will open the Heavenly storehouses of mercy so that H will deal with each one of us in a similar manner, and redeem His people from the overwhelming tzaros in which they find themselves”.

The kindness given to the victims of the horrendous fire and smoke filled building in the Bronx, the wonderful perception the citizens and others of New York City and North Miami Beach Florida have for Taylor and Topper and the news coverage they both receive just because of who and what they are is truly phenomenal . The tremendous chasadim by Bingo, Masbia and Shomrim brings pride to all of us. The remarkable efforts, time, money made by all those of Masiba and Shomrim helping those victims will be remembered by many. Seeing the pictures of obvious looking Jews some with payison was a sight to be seen. (Please Note the Shomrim mentioned is a volunteer organization. It is not related nor affiliated with the NYPD Shomrim Society).
Rav Michael Barenbaum, the former Mashgiach Ruchni ztkl of Yeshiva Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem would say, it is not enough to be a frumma Yid, one most be an erlicha Yid.

Much praise must always’ be given to Rabbonim and Rebbitzens for the on going inspirations given to your mispallim. To chaplains who give so much of your heart, compassion and care- always’ in the spotlight dealing with diverse challenging situations and to all Jewish men and women who make a Kiddush H throughout the year.
Healthcare chaplains in their care for their patients, caregivers and loved ones, know the importance of relationships with a patient. Being able to speak, to sing, to share family events, prayers of the patients religion, holiday / cultural songs and music is so important not just for the caregiver or family member, but for the patient. The belief is that a patient who is in a coma or vegetative state can hear and possibly knows what is being said etc. Hearing is believed to be the last major part of a patients life until death. It is soothing, comforting and meaningful for both the caregiver, family member and the patient. Though a patient might not be able to eat, the aroma of something the patient enjoyed to smell also brings important memories for that patient. The continued connection between the patient and the caregiver or family member is so important. Even saying farewell, goodbye or last blessings and word of love to a dying patient is so important. True, there is much sadness, but an opportunity when presented is truly meaningful for both the patient and the loved ones. Rabbis and rebbitzens who have a relationship with their congregant and those who you give your spiritual and pastoral care to, will find your support, comfort and encouragement to those going through a difficult time appreciative . If the patient is in a hospital or nursing rehabilitation center, do call upon and seek the guidance and support of the healthcare chaplain. Healthcare chaplains are truly remarkable helping to bring that bond of love or friendship and meaningful relationship with warmth and sincerity.

The article by Dr. Adrian Owens.

May we all be zoche the kindness and the goodness of H. May H give us the wisdom, the abilities and the strength to fulfill all the taryag mitzvos with tremendous love for Him and for Klal Yisrael. Let us strive to bring achdus amongst and between each other with much sincerity, kindness and to find goodness no matter what ones background might be. May our emunah and hope remain strong and steadfast with our lives filled with good health, simchas hachayim and much happiness. May we be able to be Mekadeish H whenever and however possible. Thank you. Sincerely. Rabbi Yehuda Blank