Monsey, NY – When noted community activist and educator Rabbi Ronald Greenwald visited Haiti 6 weeks ago, he had no idea that the Haiti he saw was about to be changed forever. Staying three hours outside Port Au Prince, the poverty and desolation he witnessed were so extreme that he felt inspired to do something about it. Upon his return home to Monsey, he scheduled a meeting with members of the Haitian community, to let them know that if they ever wanted to take a delegation to Washington to discuss the extreme poverty in their homeland, he would be happy to accompany them.
The meeting was scheduled for January 19th.
In view of the tragedy that shook Haiti last week, the meeting was surely divinely ordained.
Approximately twenty five to twenty eight members of the Jewish community, from all walks of life, met with a group of about a dozen members of the Haitian community for a breakfast at Eli’s Bagels, in Spring Valley, New York, home to a many of Rockland County’s Haitian population.
What was originally intended to be an opportunity to get to know your neighbors, ended up being a huge outpouring of support from the Jewish community and a tremendous Kiddush Hashem. Rabbi Greenwald is spearheading a food drive in many of the local Monsey yeshivos to collect canned food and medical supplies and is hoping a local travel agency will sponsor plane tickets so that a delegation can travel to Haiti along with an entire container of donated goods.
Additionally, Refuah Health Center, with the help of Mayor Spitzer, is willing to send a mobile health unit down to Haiti if suitable transportation can be arranged.
Rabbi Greenwald quoted Pirkei Avos saying, “Choviv odam shenivra b’tzelem – every person is special because they were created in the image of G-d. You see such destruction, how can you not be moved by it?”