Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com
<><><> Thursday December 29, 2022, Teves 5, 5783<><><>
The circle of heartfelt friendship, a kind heart, respect, sincerity
and Kiddush H.

Rabbi YY Jacobson Chanukah -Day #6
“Your Smile Can Change A World”
“How One “Good Morning” Transformed History.”
A magnificent video that can make a difference.
By the world renown Rabbi Jacobson.
The link to this video can be found at the end of this article.
(As featured on Yeshiva.net)

The urgent request for an immediate marriage by the chaplain-
another Kiddush H.

The strong words by Avi Shulman from last weeks Moment of Inspiration
about a person having a good heart.

Cannabis/Marijuana we can not take for granted.
“Substance Use In Our Schools And Our Communities.”
An important article to read!
Co-authored by Yehuda Blank, Lianne Forman and Devora Shabtai.
The link to the article Substance Use In Our Schools And Communities
can be found at the end of this article.

What is it to be kindhearted or to have a kind and caring heart? Does it really make a difference to those who are not Jewish? One might ask, why I place such an important emphasis on what it means to be a good ambassador of H and Klal Yisrael, especially when it seems so many who are of diverse backgrounds often want to find fault in who and what we are. Not too long ago, Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss had penned the importance of Kiddush H during the summer months for a Jewish English newspaper. Sometimes something so innocuous can have a tremendous impact on how we are perceived. A kind word, a smile, doing a kind deed for someone, can be everlasting. Whatever it may be, when done with sincerity will always be remembered and appreciated for a long time. I would like to share with you several personal experiences.

In my neighborhood, most people Jewish and non Jewish address me as rabbi.
It is incumbent upon me to always put my best foot forward, to be courteous, helpful, show interest in other neighbors’ welfare when they wish to share things with me and be complimentary when appropriate. Their responses have been very positive.

Here is one such example. Bob(not his real name) and I have had a very nice relationship for quite some time. I had known him before the amputation of his leg. Several weeks following his amputation, he shared his feelings with me how uncomfortable he was with the way people spoke to him different after his surgery. Bob wanted my opinion on how to deal with those feelings. He wanted to know if I had any suggestions now how to respond to someone who speaks to him differently now that he is in a wheelchair. This past we struck up a conversation. He shared that he was waiting for his mother and uncle as they were going to go to a restaurant for a holiday meal. When his mom came down, he introduced me to her and his uncle. I shared with her how her son inspires me with his beautiful smile and I am grateful for our friendship. She grabbed my arm like a hug thanking me for the relationship we have. Bob mentioned when he was at a NYC world reknown hospital he met this very caring and wonderful chaplain. During Bob and Chaplain Esther’s (not her real name) conversation he mentioned that he resides on the Lower East Side. She asked if he knew Rabbi Blank who lives in the same neighborhood. Bob responded that he and I are neighbors residing in the same building. Bob related to me that both he and the chaplain had special, warm and caring words about me. Bob also shared with me how remarkable the chaplain is, extremely caring and sincere. Chaplain Esther is truly a phenomenal professional with a wonderful reputation. She is proud of being an Orthodox Jewish health care chaplain. This wonderful chaplain shared with me how important the circle of friendship, of sincerity, of caring for others no matter what their religion, background, or culture might be and that is how she felt about the relationship all three of us have. Once again, the opportunities of Kiddush H is immense. Listening to Bob’s experience and what he shared about Chaplain Esther, brought me much pride to the profession of chaplaincy.

Here is another experience of the essence of sdbeing kindhearted. During my clinical pastoral education internship some years ago at Beth Israel Hospital, now Beth Israel Mount Sinai Medical Center, there was a patient who requested the chaplain on duty to perform an urgent marriage. When I arrived at his room, he was sitting with a woman who he has had a meaningful relationship for many years. He wished to marry her so that when the time comes he will be able to enter Heaven. They were both devout Christians, with strong belief in G. They both shared with me their relationship with each other. It was as if they were married living with righteousness caring and respecting each other. I shared that I was unable to perform marriages of a different faith but could help them feel united as if they were like husband and wife. I shared all decisions about Heaven, about forgiveness that is up to G. Having had a relationship as they have had with tremendous love and respect for each other was special indeed. I gave them a spontaneous blessing and acknowledged that special relationship of kindness they had for each other. They then made a toast with seltzer mixed with grape juice (nothing stronger was available nor permitted). All the staff were in tears. After I left, a short time later, I received notification to return asap for the patient had just died .The entire staff and that woman kept me on the unit for quite some time. They were extremely thankful for my sensitivity, understanding and as they told me, for being so kindhearted. This was a brief story about how much caring for each other meant for this man and woman who were not Jewish and another opportunity of being Mekadeish H for me.

I shared in my recent article from Candle-light( Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd) by Mr.Avi Shulman the following from the chapter “A good party- A great life” and wish to share it again.” A person who has a good heart is not suspicious, jealous, or hateful. He is not envious or resentful. He is not upset or angry. He is pleasant, accepting, empathetic, sharing, and kind. He enjoys an openness in his relationships with people and tends to see the good side and positive potential of everyone he meets. A person with a good heart radiates cheerfulness and hope. He is gracious and almost always in a good mood. People look forward to his company and counsel.” Of course, all of this is for women too.

My famous motto, “No strings attached-except my tzitzis.” Whatever we do, should be with sincerity. With a leiv Shalom and a leiv Tov. Just listen to the words of Rabbi YY Jacobson in his video “Your smile can change the world.” A smile could even save a life. Often, people are so involved in their own lives that they do not think how much they can be a positive influence and make a tremendous impact on others. What does the Ribono shel Olam want from us ? To follow in His ways of caring for Klal Yisrael for others and for each other. He gives us awesome opportunities that are in our grasp. All we have to is recognize and take them.

Lately there have been lots of news about cannabis/marijuana. There will soon be if not already locations where recreational cannabis is legal and available to purchase. Can it, will it become attractive for our youth to obtain such items. The answer is yes. Substance use and addiction including alcoholism is of tremendous concern. I co-authored an article for the Torah Umesorah publication Hamechanech Magazine together with two reknown professionals Lianne Forman who is the Founder and Executive Director of Communities Confronting Substance Use and Addiction, Inc. (CCSA) and Devorah Shabtai LCSW, who is the Vice President of Clinical Development, Onward Living.
Please take the time to read the article. My contact information is 917-446-2126 and rablenblank@gmail.com . Lianne Forman can be contacted at lianne.forman@Jewishccsa.org. Devorah Shabtai can be contacted at dshabtai@onwardliving.org

From The Gentle Weapon. Prayers for Everyday and Not -So-Everyday Moments
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Jewish Lights Publishing

“A humble spirit”
“Dear G”
guide me along the path
of sincere humility.
If ever I put on airs-stop me!
Bless me with a humble spirit:
with eyes
that only see good in people;
with a mind
always open to others’ opinions;
with a heart
always caring of their concerns.
Teach me to humble myself
even before the lowliest
of Your children,
whose heart brokenness
brings them closer
to You.

“Finding Good”
“ O loving G,
help me discover
and uncover
all that is good,
all that is positive
in the world.
Camouflaged though they may be,
let me find
those elusive sparks of
holy light
Let me perceive all the beauty
and truth
hidden within Your Creation.”

May we continue to be imbued with the righteousness of all the goodness in the world, caring with all of our hearts. May the holiday of Chanukah continue to bring us much brightness kindness, happiness and joy until Chanukah returns once again. Thank you,  Sincerely. Rabbi Yehuda Blank

Click here for the video – your smile can change the world

Click here or on the image below for the entire article substance abuse in our schools and communities

Click here or on the image below for the video “Your Smile Can Change a World”