Monsey, NY – Orthodox Community Leaders Meet with Haitian Neighbors

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    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?”

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    31 COMMENTS

    1. Press Release Jan.18 2012

      Am-Echad today announced an EMERGENCY CAMPAIGN help the victims in Haiti.

      Mark Meyer Appel who has been on a speaking tour in south Florida’s Churches and Synagogues lecturing on sex abuse and children’s rights is leading this campaign along with Rabbi Abraham Rice, South Florida’s Director of Am-Echad and Rev. Vilner Eugene of Church of a New Revelation

      Rev Eugene is a prominent leader of the Haitian community in South Florida and a Honored Police Officer of the Florida Police Department

      Donations and food items should be dropped off at:

      Church of a New Revelation
      13816 North West 7 Ave
      Miami, Fl 33168
      Between 11am – 5pm

      Please make checks payable to American Red Cross

      Food will be airlifted to Haiti on Friday Jan. 23 2010.

      Help save lives and the Rebone Shel Olelem will help Klal Israel
      “When one saves one life, it’s as if that person saved the entire world” The Talmud

      Contact:
      Mark Meyer Appel (917) 804-3942
      Rev Vilner Eugene (786) 286-3151

    2. Aniyie ircho kudmin just because it’s popular doesn’t mean we have to do the same
      I think it’s stupid to have a food drive in yeshivas (besides the fact of chilul hashem if children will not contibute) we should prioritize tzeduke with yidishe kinder
      and let R Greenwald use he’s resoursefulness for better things
      BTW I understand Refuah health cntr since they r trying to cater to the Haitian peaple

      • As a person who possibly (and most likely) hasn’t given an iota of himself to others as Rabbi Greenwald has. I think it’s a terrible Chutzpa and a horrible Chilul H-shem for you to suggest how he should spend his time. We are not alone in the world and if you think you know EXACTLY what the Ribono Shel Olam wants from all of Klal Yisroel, I truly hope that he opens your eyes to the importance of Kiddush H-shem and being kind to all.
        Wishing you only Bracha

    3. Someone please I beg you enlighten me!!! Why is everyone going crazy about what happened in Haiti??? I understand the magnitude of the disaster, but what happened now that all the jews are getting so excited about?? Are all the yidden in EY and the USA being taken care off are there no poor helpless yidden who need money? doctors, housing etc???.

      • Sorry, but the poverty there can’t really compare. An interesting Halachic question: Help a Jew live better, or save a non-Jew from literally starving to death in the street, which takes precedence? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

        If you think the Jews in the USA (and even EY where the poverty is indeed worse) are remotely in such a situation, then you don’t understand what is going on in Haiti.

      • Dear Wondering,
        The words “poor” and “helpless” do not go with “Yidden” any more. In case you didn’t realize, the Jews are enjoying a standard of living unmatched anywhere in the world: nice heimische homes, a gemara shas in every home, private school education, human hair sheitels, European clothing, the best kosher food, 8 week Bungalow vacations and the list goes on and on…..
        In case you didn’t realize, most of the Haitian people are living in abject poverty on less than $1 per day with no access to health care, no money for food, no money for water, no education, no firestation, no jobs, no shoes, no chance to better themselves and now they have lost their little shacks they used to live in, corpses are littering the streets and it is total anarchy and you CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO HELP? Have you no heart? Have you no conscience? Have you no moral decency? Who stole these attributes from you?

        • Yes, its bad enough in Haiti without you exagerating….”less than a $1.00 a day”-that simply can’t be, unless you are telling me that a cup of Starbucks coffee over there in Port au Prince only costs 2cents.

          • Making fun of the Haitians poverty by saying they cannot possibly afford Starbucks is low. To degrade a starving person further by making a senseless and heartless comment about their lacking the “basic necessities of life” like Starbucks coffee is stunningly callous. What a blockhead you are!

          • According to the United Nations, the gross income of the average Haitian is $560.00 PER YEAR. Do you think a person who earns $560.00 per year is ordering lattes from his local neighborhood Starbucks? Do you own an English dictionary, try looking up the words: heartless, indifferent, insensitive, unfeeling and unsympathetic. Shall I go on?

    4. Enough is enough we don’t have to be politically correct we have our own needs to fulfill let every person considering donating first first pay up his/her tuition bill so are rebbes can put food in thief childrens mouth etc etc

    5. Rabbi Greenwald, Refuah Health Center, Mayor Spitzer you are all so wonderful. To do all this for the Haitian community that is suffering – you are making their suffering your own, feeling their pain, realizing they too were created by the same G-d. What Kiddush Hashem and great inspiration!

      We can take for granted all the basic luxuries we have here in the USA – water, food, shelter – what these poor people in Haiti lack. What great way to show gratitude to G-d by helping those fellow human beings that don’t have these basic necessities!

      Rabbi Greenwald is right – how can we not be moved by all this destruction! So he is not just talking about it – but doing something about it!

      Look at what Israel has done here – had a model field hospital in Haiti run by the Israeli army that was so tremedously impressed by a CNN reporter doing a story about it – she was overwhelmed. Zaka and Hatzalah of Israel also derserves praise for helping save lives there. And in the USA – NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Agudah, the OU and other Jewish organizations doing all they can to help save lives of people in Haiti! I as an Orthodox Jew appreciate the help to my brothers and sisters in Haiti.

    6. Hashem gave Rabbbi Greenwald another life. About 2 years ago, he was almost taken from us and Boruch Hashem, Hakadosh Baruch Hu was kind to him and to the entire Klal Yisroel by giving him more years here. Hashem shoud continue to give him MANY MANY more years. He is someone that the tzibbur desperately needs. He is somoeone that is TOTALLY lsheim shamayim and ready to do anything, literally anything for another person. Although he has slowed down since his scare a few years back, he is till someone with the biggest and most understanding heart. Someone who still does everything he possibly can when other people need help. Hashem should bentch you and your entire family. Hatzlochah raba!

    7. This is not suprising coming from Rabbi Greenwald whose love for every person across every spectrum is such an inspiration. Kol HaKavod to all involved.

    8. Some pople are losing their minds now. We made a kiddush hashem many times already and now asking people to send food to a place which is and can be taken care of by the USA is an outright nerve.

      When our fellow jews are suffering to the point that they can’t afford tuition and food on theri table you have alot of chutzpah to even request a dime going to Haiti. We are starving too and nobody gives a damn about us and our fellow yidden.

      Tzedaka starts at home and if you don’t understand this then you should leave askanus. Your respect is right out the window. This is an outright avlah what your doing at the expense of yidden. Our own resources are so limited. Do goyim ever bail us out ? Never.

      • You are selfish, entitled and beyond criticism. You don’t have enough cholent to stuff yoyrself? Not enough tuition? They are homeless and dying with little hope for a quick yeshua. Learn some modos

      • People are walking around Haiti stinking from gangrene, having their limbs sawed off to keep them alive and you are screaming for “private school subsidies” for your spoiled kids? Where is your human heart? “Our Resources are Limited”? Are you insane? Check with the IRS, a billion dollars of tzedaka money are funnelled through zip code 11219 annually. Where is it all going?

      • You obviously are unaware of the great chesed that we do for our people and if you think we are limited to just that you are sadly mistaken. I don’t believe that there is a limit to the kiddush H-shem that is expected from us. You sound like a child when you try to suggest that we act only as others do for us. i hope H-shem opens your eyes to helping others and then helps you as well.

    9. Rabbi Greenwald, Refuah Health Center, Mayor Spitzer you are all so wonderful. To do all this for the Haitian community that is suffering – you are making their suffering your own, feeling their pain, realizing they too were created by the same G-d. What Kiddush Hashem and great inspiration!

      We can take for granted all the basic luxuries we have here in the USA – water, food, shelter – what these poor people in Haiti lack. What great way to show gratitude to G-d by helping those fellow human beings that don’t have these basic necessities!

      Rabbi Greenwald is right – how can we not be moved by all this destruction! So he is not just talking about it – but doing something about it!

      Look at what Israel has done here – had a model field hospital in Haiti run by the Israeli army that was so tremedously impressed by a CNN reporter doing a story about it – she was overwhelmed. Zaka and Hatzalah of Israel also derserves praise for helping save lives there. And in the USA – NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Agudah, the OU and other Jewish organizations doing all they can to help save lives of people in Haiti! I as an Orthodox Jew appreciate the help to my brothers and sisters in Haiti.

    10. Can someone explain to me why the jews are bending over backwards for these haitins? I understand providing support, but everywhere I read, jews, both individuals and organziations are moblilizing for these Haitians more than I have seen done for Israel. Why is that?

      • You can’t be serious. Please tell us you are not serious in suggesting Americans are not contributing to Israel. Every week I have at least 5 shluchim knocking on my door collecting for poor Israelis, and we are talking about people that have homes, clothes, food, health care, shoes and basic security. The Haitians are walking around with gangrenous limbs while the bodies pile up by the hundreds of thousands and you question contributing to Haitians?

    11. Halachically, where do you draw the line.

      I always learned that aniyei ircho kodem (the poor of your city take priority). Have we wiped out poverty among jews in the US that we can run to Haiti, a nation whose voting record at the UN on Israel is probably questionable.

    12. wow i am nauseous from some of the comments made here. seriously??!! before you start dictating where we should give our charity try to fathom thousands of little crying, orphaned children who haven’t eaten in days, bodies piled high and being burnt in order to prevent further spread of infection, i could go on but hopefully all you haters get the picture. This degree of human suffering cannot be ignored! regardless of religion! The disregard of human life displayed in some of these comments is appalling and unacceptables.

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