Monday, February 18, 2008


I have more interesting things to tell you about Ricki’s reaction to the fire, but it will have to wait for tomorrow. Today I want to dwell on the value of “community”.
My neighbor (whose house had a serious fire yesterday afternoon) is an important member of a Chassidic group. He has a big extended family, and is part of a community. This is a priceless asset.
This morning an army of men arrived to help. The burnt stuff was taken out, the floors and stairs were cleaned, and a first cover of paint was applied in the house. It reminded me a bit of how the Amish get together and build a barn in a day.
In our move-every-few-years society, and our distance from our parents’ abode, how many of us have this type of support? OK, I can imagine some of you saying, “Distance means no interference, no trifling into my private affairs.”
I still maintain that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. In addition, people with common sense ought to know how to mind their own business, at least most of the time. For example, my daughter-in-law lives almost under her mother’s doorstep, yet she manages to maintain her privacy and role as an adult within a loving relationship. Of course, belonging to a community means contributing to it as well. I think it behooves all of us to take stock occasionally of our families and community. Where are we in relation to them? How can we make the connection stronger and better? How do I protect my privacy? How can I contribute?

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