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Dear Jido,

Our neighbors just divorced and the wife and three children are staying on at the house. The husband has left. The wife is always calling to have my husband come over and fix the different household problems that come up. At first we felt sorry for her and the kids. But now she seems to be calling almost every day. My husband works hard and has a lot to take care of here at our house. We have both talked about it and are at a loss as to how to tactfully turn her down. Do you have any suggestions for what we should do or say without coming off as being uncaring or unneighborly?

Signed,

We Really Do Care

Dear Really,

Baruch Hashem, most of us have been spared the heart breaking tragedies that have taken place in our community over the past several months. These include children passing away at young ages, car accidents, bankruptcies, serious diseases, comas, drug addiction, fires, loss of jobs and businesses, complications at childbirth, and divorces. When we think about those who have actually experienced one of these tragedies, we realize how difficult it is for them to cope every day with their new reality.

Hashem has given you an unbelievable blessing. You are witnessing firsthand how devastating a divorce can be on a couple and their children, and yet you can put your head on your pillow at night and say, hasdei Hashem, it is not me, it is not my children, and it’s not my family.

I see that you keenly feel the intrusion that this neighbor has caused, which impacts your own personal lives. Fortunately, you do not have to shoulder this entire burden alone. Baruch Hashemwe have a number of agencies and people in our community that can help a family weather these storms. For the immediate needs, there is the Mitzvah Man and his group of a thousand volunteers who can appear on the scene almost as fast as Hatzalah, to help with almost anything. For the longer term needs, Bikur Holim has many support groups as well as other types of assistance to help the family adjust to their new life.

Draw the line. Let your neighbor know that you really do care, and that you’re ready to help her get the assistance she needs from those who are trainedand are prepared to deal with her situation.

And while you’re pitching in, thank Hashem that He has given you the opportunity to do these great acts of hesedwithout the trauma of personal involvement.

Jido