Chabad Hurricane Relief

Friday, September 02, 2005


Sarah Rivkin's Diary 9/2 2:37 PM

After hours spent in front of the computer, glued to the news, the updates, the pictures of our hometown, I am quite numbed by the cruel reality.
After days spent in friend’s homes, connected by phone calls and emails to our neighbors, friends, family, and concerned people, I am quite melted by their kindness and sensitivity.
I guess those more seasoned by life than I, will recognize that pattern.There is light in the dark; there is hope in the despair.There are so many things these days that can bring tears to my eyes. And most of them are familiar questions.
Why did this have to happen?
So many good things were happening in the city...
So many good people built lives in this city...
So many innocent people...
But I also have learned lessons in these past few days, that i hope will forever remain fresh in my mind.I have learned that while we spend many hours accumulating material possessions, andwhile we even let ourselves be defined by what we own, those are all layers.And that even when they all get stripped away, painful as that may be, we can still exist and continue on. Because it is what we do for others, what we create between people, that no flood can wash away.
I have also learned the power of a generous spirit. The Goldmans, Chabad Shluchim in Gainesvile Florida at the University of Florida, who opened their home and office, and put all their resources and attention at our disposal, probably do not even realize that they have provided me with an experience that will be that I have seen first hand what it means to put ones self aside, to inconvenience oneself, and not even mind, because I have the other person’s welfare first in my mind... there is such power in these actions and much hope for this world that can contain people like this.
The Oirechmans, Chabad Shluchim from Tallahassee, Florida, as well as the Lipskers, Chabad Shluchim at Emory in Atlanta, have also welcomed us into our homes with such generosity and friendship that i am having a hard time feeling sorry for myself.and this was just my personal experience. I know that communities all over have opened their homes, purses, freed their schedules, and put their daily life on hold to acknowledge and help in this time of crisis.I feel that every friend and family member who takes a moment to call or email is taking a moment out of their daily schedule to acknowledge us in our trying times and incredibly enough that gives me the strength and energy to look hopefully onto a bigger and better future.
That is the end of my pre-shabbos soliloquy (this Friday night we were supposed to kick off our Chabad student program at Tulane with a grand Mardi Gras Shabbat dinner - and my hands are unexpectedly idle right now), but I want to end with the most important part of my message:
People are flooding us with messages- what can we do to help.And sure financial assistance, hosting families, and all that relief efforts are crucial.But that is working within the normal order of the world. within nature.But doing a mitzvah is working above the natural order. It is the straight connection to G-d.
So please, please Jewish women. Light Shabbat candles.To find out candle lighting times go to or check your local Jewish calendar.Do this for all the people of New Orleans whose lives where thrown into chaos at best, and whose lives are still in danger, G-d forbid, at worst.Good Shabbos.
May the cumulative light of all our good deeds finally break through and finally end all darkness.forever. all over.

I want you to know that there has been a flurry of activity today all over Baltimore (and I'm sure all over the world) to assist the Jews from New Orleans. You are not alone.
Have a great Shobbos.
I'm not sure who posted the last message but I second the thought; I've spent most of the day on the phone in Baltimore with people and offers of help. Sarah, thank you for your pre-Shabbat reminder. I don't think the light of the candles has ever been more important than it will be tonight. Have a great Shabbos.
Sara, I really needed to read this. Thanks so much for reminding us what is really important. It would be incredible if people did start doing mitzvos as a response to this tragedy, but we also need to get money to the many who need it!
Sarah, I am so glad to hear for sure where you are. I emailed your husband through the chabad website but I expected him to either not be able to access or to understandably be inundated. I emailed Tzippy who said you were ok. This diary was a relief to me. Our thoughts have been with you the whole time. May Hashem help you start over as a person, family and kehilla to do even more work than before. Maybe this tragedy will send more Jews your way and some good can come from it.
All our best wishes and of course our tfilos too-
What can we help with?

Bethanie, Ben and family
Hi Sara. I am so happy and releived to know you and your family are well. why does it take this to happen for us to get in touch?!?! We are thinking of you and I'll forward your message to whoever i can. Please be in touch and let me know if there is anything we can help with. Take care, Miriam Rav-Noy & family
Sarah, please email me
I want your address, where you are now.
Love you!
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