A Helping Hand

47 years ago today, The CN Tower, up until 2007 the tallest freestanding structure in the world, opened its doors in my hometown of Toronto. About 1,800 feet tall, it was and is a truly imposing structure, and a testament to the capabilities of our civilization to reach for the sky.

About 2-3 years before that, my father, who was an electrician at the time with many contacts in construction, was able to bring my brother and I (we were both very young at the time) to the construction site of the tower to see it up close as it was being built. Of course, no such visit could possibly happen if the tower was going up today. My clear memory was of looking up at the half built tower and seeing clouds move past it on a windy day in a mostly sunny sky. I was convinced that it was falling and I was scared until it was explained to me that the clouds were moving, not the tower.

I was thinking about this as I wrote recently about the work of agencies like Rockland Jewish Family Service and others. An incredibly important part of Jewish tradition is to help our sisters and brothers. Sometimes that help takes substantive form, like the distribution of care packages through the Rhoda Bloom Food Pantry. Sometimes it takes the form of employment opportunities for people who have challenges with social interaction. And sometimes, it takes the form of caring for, listening to, and helping someone who feels real fear that their world is falling in on them.

Mental health challenges take many forms. It is incumbent upon all of us to make ourselves aware of the struggles of those around us, even when they are not eager to share. A helping hand, a compassionate smile, and a recommendation to reach out to our community’s great resource through Maria Dowling and her incredible staff at RJFS could be a first step for someone to find a way to manage the challenges they face. We are proud to invest in the success of such a vital agency in our community.

Earlier his week, we were excited to welcome Alma Hernandez to our Annual Meeting, where she shared her experiences as the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona House of Representatives, as well as her approach to overcoming challenges as an unabashed Zionist Latina Jewish woman on the national stage. Alma spoke to a capacity crowd, and we also reported on our achievements, looked ahead to the coming year, and welcomed new members of our board.