Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Elul 5759 - August 18, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
How Do You Rate as a Good Neighbor? - A Self Quiz

This message is for all ages,

For people at all stages,

For those from backgrounds that vary,

Or those with different burdens to carry,

For those who need a support-word here and there,

Someone to talk to, to feel sympathy, to care.

At this year's Shemiras Haloshon Rally, HaRav Y. Ganz shlita presented a questionnaire designed to upgrade our good-neighbor relations. We have decided to combine this with a project which is part of the Tzefas Anglo-Saxon community activities. Neighborliness is a day-to-day area where we can put our good resolutions to quick practice:

DO YOU greet others first -- even passing acquaintances in your neighborhood? Or do you reserve your morning smile only for good friends -- or for those from whom you need a particular favor? (Are your husband and children included in the first category?)

DO YOU (intentionally or otherwise) shy away/ignore those people of dissimilar background or do you include them in your circle of acquaintances?

DO YOU show gratitude, in general, by a smile/voiced thanks/ a phone call/ or -- nothing?

DO YOU make an effort to introduce two people of chance encounter, of whom you are the single common denominator, to one another?

DO YOU inquire after someone whom you haven't seen for some while? Call up?

HAVE YOU thought that she might not be feeling well or in the need of something, if not just friendly interest in her welfare?

HAVE YOU, in such a situation, offered any REAL help, or shown that you sympathize?

DOES THE PRESENCE of a woman who does not speak your language fluently cause you discomfort -- and cause you to suggest to switch languages for her sake?

DO YOU try to welcome a new neighbor who has come to your building or neighborhood? Do you send her anything for her first Shabbos? And if you're the newcomer, how did you accept these gestures?

DO YOU show any interest in the welfare of an elderly/ lonely/ sickly neighbor? Or one who has recently married off her last child and finds herself suddenly alone? Or someone recently widowed or bereaved -- after the shiva is over? More than once? Do you call her? Stop to talk to her, at least, for more than a passing moment, when you meet her on the street?

ARE YOU AWARE that showing an interest will "make a person's day?" '

DO YOU give a special greeting to a neighbor who has been away or hospitalized?

DO YOU utilize a wait by the bus stop/ at the clinic/ dentist/ for friendly conversation with a person you know? Or are you withdrawn and severe-looking?

WHEN YOU plan to leave home for several days, do you feel a natural need to tell your neighbor, to say good-bye? If you are moving away, do you say good- bye to your neighbors? Do you plan to keep contact?

DO YOU ever think of your baal tshuva neighbors or newlyweds, and try to be surrogate friends, if not family? To give them moral support and let them know you are there if they need you?

Divide your weak points (and conquer them), and multiply by your strong points to get your Good Neighbor Quotient. And keep working at it.

A SEQUEL TO THE GREEN BOOK [A Friendly Neighborhood Directory]

Raizel F. writes the following:

When we made aliya six years ago from Brooklyn directly to Tzefas, we purposely picked a night flight so our four young children would sleep. Ho, ho! They were awake, and periodically throwing up, the whole trip, minus the last half hour.

Anyway, after a very scenic, hours long ride from Ben Gurion airport to Tzefas, paid for by the Jewish Agency, passing orchards of orange trees, patchwork fields, groves of olive trees and beginning to climb higher and higher up green and purple mountains, we unloaded our family, 15 boxes and various carry-ons, and began to settle into the first of our temporary apartments.

One of our first visitors was Rifca [you know her, readers: Rifca Goldberg], bearing a big smile and The List. The List was a three page computer printout of important information of what services were available in Tzefas and whom to call, mostly in English.

A list of rabbonim, English shiurim, shopping, libraries, gemachim -- strollers, medicines, medical equipment etc., exerice classes, babysitting, natural healing, car services, and who-sells-what-from-their-home is incredible helpful for someone who's just moved into a community. Aside from enabling us practically to make a smooth adjustment to our new situation, we appreciated the thought behind the list, that we were being welcomed with open arms and hearts by people who were happy we had come.

The Tzefas List is not relevant to all communities, as it stands. But for some enterprising Baalas Chessed in any small community, this is a small challenge to compile and update, and worth gold.


Libraries, books and/or tapes.

Which stores deliver, which charge for delivery, store hours and when they are closed.

Gemachs: clothing, medicines, dishes, cribs and strollers, for women after birth -- which usually includes food and help/babysitting.

Shiurim, religious ulpan lessons, kollelim, women's morning classes. Shemiras Haloshon. EMETT.

Poskim, including those who speak English. Doctors. Emergency care. Dental clinics. Apartments available for Shabbos guests/ placement for guests etc.

Car service. Any other services available in your area.

Things sold from homes. People who can give good advice in certain areas.

Every neighborhood should have its own index and welcoming committee.

Get going...


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