January 25, 2020, 9:15 am - 1:30 pm
Beth Jacob Synagogue
375 Aberdeen Avenue
A special Shabbat honouring the people who have helped Out of the Cold serve our community over the last 20 years. Guest speakers and lunch to follow.
Aleinu leshabe’ach in Hebrew means, “It’s our duty to praise.” In Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ list of ways to find happiness, praise is number two right after giving thanks. “Catch someone doing something right and say so. Most people, most of the time, are unappreciated. Being recognized, thanked and congratulated by someone else is one of the most empowering things that can happen to us. Do it for someone else…. You will make their day and that will help make yours.”
So, fellow OOTC’ers, I present some reasons why you and others are praised.
At our OOTC board meeting last week, we learned that our collective dinners fed 4,000 guests in November alone, 18% more than last year. Of that, our Tuesday group fed 544 guests over 4 weeks averaging 136 guests, 9% more than 2018.
Jewish Family Services and Hamilton Jewish Federation made OOTC their Mitzvah of the Month recipient in November with a call out for socks! Hundreds were gratefully received and distributed twice during December.
“Live your values. Most of us believe in high ideals but we act on them only sporadically,” says Rabbi Sacks. “The best thing to do is to establish habits that get us to enact those mitzvot, ideals in action, constantly rehearsed.” True to this, there was no discussion on whether we should or should not present our Chanukkah feast and candle lighting before the holiday occurs. (Remember, we’re not operating on Christmas Eve, the night to light the third candle.) We just cannot let our guests down; routine and expectations must be met. During the announcements last week, I told the guests that Dec. 17th would be our last until Jan. 7. Loudly, a gentleman shouted, “So, are you serving your Chanukkah brisket next week?” I replied, “Shhhhh, the cow hasn’t been told yet!” Not only brisket, but hundreds of latkes, dreidels and 150 bags of toiletries/socks, see picture.
On Dec. 3, a young woman saw volunteer Zachary walking around offering hats, scarves and socks to guests and asked me if he could come over to her. “Sure, what do you need?” She replied, “Everything.” Quietly, she said that she left an abusive relationship that day, left with nothing. I asked her if she had a place to stay and luckily she knew about Carole Anne’s place at the YWCA. OOTC financially supports the women’s shelter. She would be there at 10 pm when it opened. Praises for our Board for their foresight and budgeting.
On Dec. 10, a young woman, warmly dressed and carrying a couple of overstuffed knapsacks caught my eye. Upon chatting, she disclosed that she was homeless, praised US for the delicious meal, refused my offer to find her a place to sleep, reassuring ME that she’d be fine. I swear she could have been any one of my daughters.
Our cooking team is so amazing; they’ve even talked about producing an OOTC cookbook. Not sure how technically accurate the ingredients will be because the way they measure is with their hearts.
A guest praised us, “Dinner tonight was stupendous; I’m so full. There’s always so much food here. It’s like being on a cruise. You come on as a passenger; you leave as cargo.”
On Saturday morning, January 25th, Shabbat services at Beth Jacob Synagogue will pay recognition to our group’s 20th year. Lunch will follow. One of the last prayers sung will be “Aleinu leshabe’ach.” It is our duty to praise, praise each other and take the time to praise ourselves.
Happy Chanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all.