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Fruits of Tzedakah / Proud to be from Louisiana

Friday, 14 September, 2018 - 12:01 pm

Last night we had the pleasure of participating in the dedication of the newly named Slater Torah Academy, honoring Mrs. Rosina Slater, who recently gave a major gift to Torah Academy. It was heartwarming to see the nonagenarian surrounded by dozens of children who are the direct beneficiaries of her generosity.

Mrs. Slater and her late husband Joseph were not blessed with children of their own. But through this act of kindness she has gained many spiritual children. At the event, Rabbi Chesney shared a story of the Baal Shem Tov, who discovered a town full of children with similar names, all named after a childless couple from a century before, who endowed Jewish education in their town, thereby ensuring that all children would be afforded schooling.

I have known Mrs. Slater for many years. She used to come to Chabad House for holidays and then I saw her frequently while she was a resident at Lambeth House. She would often express herself to me that she wants to do something for the community. With this generous gift she has created a legacy that will have lasting impact.

Many people choose to do their contributing as a bequest from their estate. I am all for that and encourage people to consider remembering Chabad as well as Torah Academy in their wills. (Please contact us to discuss this further.) The downside of a bequest is that a person does not have the benefit of enjoying the fruits of their bequest during their lifetime. Certainly the Neshama gets a lot of pleasure and a boost from that Mitzvah. But the beauty of this gift is, that Rosina has the pleasure of seeing the direct benefit to these children with her own eyes.

This Rosh Hashanah she came to Chabad House and one Torah Academy child after the next came to greet her and wish her a Shana Tova. Yesterday at the event the elementary school children sang a song especially composed by Mrs. Nechama Kaufmann for her. This is the fulfillment of the verse, “Your world (to come) you will see in your lifetime.” To behold the effect on one’s generosity is a special privilege. We wish Mrs. Slater much Nachas from her family, all of the Torah Academy children. The Jewish future of New Orleans is considerably brighter for it.

Two things happened this week that made me proud to be from Louisiana. First, the immediate solidarity expressed by the entire New Orleans region in reaction to the hate graffiti vandalism that befell the Northshore Jewish Congregation’s facility. The reaction was swift and unequivocal. We received, as did all the other congregations, a letter of support from the Archbishop. Many leaders and lay people expressed their support and acted on that expression. There will be an event this Sunday, September 16 at 4:00 pm at NJC - 1403 N. Causeway Blvd in Mandeville.

The second is the amazing support being shown by the Louisiana community to the people in the path of Hurricane Florence. Hundreds of volunteers from the Cajun Navy headed out to the Carolinas with trucks, boats and catering facilities. Entergy sent hundreds of professional personnel to help with the relief and disaster assistance. During this season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Louisiana certainly deserves a big check mark on the heavenly charts.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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