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There's A Bigger World

06/22/2023 02:54:03 PM

Jun22

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

To listen to Rabbi Scott's blog, please click HERE.

If your email inbox is anything like mine, and I’m sure it is, you are not thirsty for more solicitations from non-profits (not to mention a slew of the rest of the world, enticing you to spend more as well! ☺  

But I have indeed learned that the fundraising aphorism is true, people don’t give to organizations nearly as much as they give to people. This is not a solicitation for CSK but for individuals and families whom CSK is seeking to serve.  And our friend Carol Pock has raised her banner to help you help Interfaith Ministries help new immigrants to Houston.  As Carol aptly quoted from our tradition, “To help [save] one family, its as if you helped [saved] an entire world.”  (And you can do VERY affordably by clicking here to ensure that these new Americans-to-be have what they need to start school in the Fall.) 

I sat down with Carol to ask her why she is pursuing this effort.  Her responses are so very aligned with my Tikun Olam hopes for CSK, I encourage you to read them for yourself.  

Rabbi Scott: Carol, what drew you to CSK?

Carol: CSK is so progressive, it’s so worldly. [Meaning, its so much a part of the world.] It doesn’t exist in a building with fees and tickets.  No matter what I attend, I always get so much out of it…I always have a take-away.  Not having a building is my favorite part.  

Rabbi Scott: What inspired you to pursue this effort to support newly immigrated families to Houston?  

Carol: When Martin Cominsky (ED of Interfaith Ministries) spoke at CSK on Tu B’Shvat [and “Immigration Shabbat], he really inspired me.  We feel like we live in this small world, but there’s so much of a bigger world out there.  There are so many people who need people and I wanted to be a part of something bigger than just sitting within my community.

When I successfully organized a small CSK group who expressed initial interest, we arranged for a meeting and introduction to the program down at IM.  The IM staff spoke about the different circumstances that lead families and individuals to make their way to the US.  You know, its not easy to leave your country and birth place, even if things there are really terrible.  And my reaction was, “How dare we just sit in the US in our own world and do nothing?” I felt guilty for the privilege I was automatically born into. What an opportunity to hear about the difficult and dangerous politics, and these immigrants working just to get asylum.  Refugees have such a bad reputation, and its not fair.  We are talking about documented individuals, who were cast out or had run from their countries, so often due to horrible violence.  

Rabbi Scott: What do you want people to do?

Carol: What I really want is that everybody drops everything and focuses on this and we respond in this giant way, but what I have learned is that every major effort does often baby steps.  I have personally taken on many projects in the past, but this time I have had discipline myself in order to empower others.  I don’t feel like I have a big presence at CSK, but by focusing on one person at a time, one conversation at a time, we can make a real difference.    

Nine people accepted my invitation to attend the information luncheon at IM, and to be honest, we were all very frustrated by the lack of parking.  It was Friday, lunchtime, and it was the day when families come and receive their paychecks to support themselves.  That’s why the parking was so bad, but it seemed a lot less bad witnessing how IM does this work - one person, one family at a time.  There are just so many little opportunities that can add up to a big picture.  Along the way, I’ve made a lot of contacts, I have made some wonderful friends, and each one of our small efforts are adding up to make a real difference. One new friend expressed that she really didn’t know what she could offer, but then she discovered that teaching English just a couple of times a week, could change someone’s life.

Rabbi Scott: That’s so beautiful. So this group is now working to support IM’s back to school supplies project.  Can anyone participate?  

Carol: Yes!  First off, please ask our community to contribute to the school supplies drive.  We and other organizations are responsible for more than 4000 items, and we will get there one donation at a time (click here to donate).  Soon, the backpack supplies kit will be 

BUT! Our grand mission is to build our CSK team in depth and in number, in order to be able to HOST an immigrant family for a 6-month commitment…to make so many of our skills, talents and knowledge available to new Americans, in ways I imagine my ancestors were helped when they were new to this land (not that long ago).  Because to help one person, it really is like you have helped the entire world.  

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Mon, February 26 2024 17 Adar I 5784