To reference pop culture â€œ I got a feeling’ that tonight’s gonna be a good nightâ€
Well, it WAS indeed a good night, make that a great night. Why? Tonight, the Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College in partnership with the NYC Department of Homeless Services, for the 24th year, celebrated Thanksgiving with a banquet for underprivileged and homeless New Yorkers. Tonight there was nutritious food, live music, dancing and tonight there was a beautiful atmosphere that embodied the spirit of human kindness and exemplified the true nature of our existence. Sure, feeding homeless people is noble by any standard and yes; it counts as a good deed. But perhaps what is more compelling is the undeniable significance this event carried for hundreds of college student and community volunteers. Picture this, students who don’t speak the same language, black, white, Jewish, Muslim, Indian (just to name a few)â€¦ an explosion of culture, people uniting for one central purpose. This is what we at Hillel consider the most important aspect of tonight’s event. People who seemingly have nothing in common and would not otherwise interact were actually talking to each other. That’s right, talking; â€œhow should we decorate the room?â€ â€œLet’s serve the mashed potatoes in a bowl and not on a plateâ€ words so simple, maybe, but the truth is, these words a part of the larger conversation. It’s not about the outcome but about the process, these volunteers had a series of conversations to figure out details large and small in preparation for the event, conversations that would not otherwise take place. For most of us at Hillel it is the most beautiful expression of the human spirit and the fundamental belief that peoples intentions are good. At Hillel, our mission revolves around five core Jewish values. One of those values is â€œTikkun Olamâ€ (repairing the world) and tonight we did our part, albeit small, in fulfilling our social obligation to the world. Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who dedicated their energy and love and who made the event a success. The staff and students of The Tanger Hillel and Brooklyn College wish you a Thanksgiving of sincere happiness.
By Marcos Askenazi
Director of Community Affairs
Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College