Netivot Shalom Berkeley Men's Shelter Report - August 2013
Congregation Netivot Shalom Men's Shelter Report
for August 2013
As the main dinner service was winding down, one man approached Shari to ask "are there any cookies?" Oh, yes, there were "cookies." Jan had made a generous supply of beautiful crunchy biscotti and Danielle had made scrumptious brownies and a positively fabulous cookie with some sort of lemon frosting. Every guest received one of each along with a couple of slices of very sweet summer watermelon. (No need to ponder how I know they were "crunchy, scrumptious, positively fabulous and of a generous supply" or even just who is included in "every guest".)
Sunday's work began with me loading up my teeny, tiny two-seater Honda Insight with all the groceries and supplies. It looked as though I were living out of my car. One of the gentlemen working at the Shelter helped unload the car and then I ran off to the SF JFF for the 2:00 PM showing of Brave Miss World-a positive must-see. When I arrived back at the Shelter close to 5 PM, Agnieszka and Derek were already in the kitchen, peeling onions and peppers. They meet the definition of self-directed, self-starters! Soon Susi, Yonit, Danielle, Aaron and Joan arrived. Susi gave the directions for a marvelous and healthy vegetarian chili (bell pepper. Poblano peppers, onions, black beans, red beans, cocoa, brown rice, spices). The fragrance as the flavors began to meld was quite heady. In the meantime we were slicing bread and preparing open-faced cheese sandwiches and assembling cole slaw ingredients. The watermelon was sliced and the ice tea was made. Shari, Steve, and Barbara arrived for the finishing touches, serving, cleaning up. Susi snuck out to her book club (and didn't take a cookie). Joan, Derek, and Agnieszka waved good-bye as we prepared to serve. Barbara came up with a good plan to better handle the serving of the hot chili so no one would scalded in the process. We had a Shelter Meal angel this time, too. Esther contributed money to the shul line-item budget to help defray the cost of the groceries. Next time up: September 1. Could you contribute your time or money or your inspiration? There is always room for YOU.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…