I work for a Jewish Federation. Needless to say, the last several months have been harrowing. My building has not yet been threatened, but our people feel fear. For many, it reopens the horror of the Shoah – the Holocaust. For all of us, it shows us that hate and anti-Semitism has blossomed into overt acts.

I remember the first time I saw a camp tattoo on an old woman’s wrinkled arm. Nothing speaks louder than that silent moment of horror.

Nonetheless, there are still acts of kindness.

This morning we found a brown paper bag at the door and assumed the worst. There was writing on it.

“My wife and I found this at a flea market. It was in a box marked ‘Jew stuff.’ We didn’t think that was right. We felt it should be given to a place where it would be respected.”

Inside was a tefillin.

The black boxes and wraps are tefillin.

These are sacred prayer items.

From the Chabad website: Tefillin consists of two small leather boxes attached to leather straps. The two boxes each contain four sections of the Torah inscribed on parchment.

My boss called the number on the package to thank the gentleman. He drove almost two hours to bring this to our building. He said he was offended to see a box labeled “Jew stuff” and like most Americans, he was angry at the hate speech and what it has spawned.

And he took action.

Elie Wiesel said :

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.


Today my world felt a little less oppressive. I hope you have a moment of grace like this too.


10 thoughts on “Compassion

    1. Thank you SO much! I know things are wonky everywhere and that you are dealing with your own set of problems as well. Still, it’s nice to know that there are good people around too. Be well, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. If more people turned to actions guided by their own hearts, the response would overwhelm the smaller groups thriving on pain and fear.
    Thank you for sharing this experience; it is one all of us can grow and benefit from.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s people like that who make me believe there’s still some hope for us. My hometown was one of the ones that had a center targeted in that recent single-day mass threat. It just made me so sick and sad; that’s always been a very open, liberal, inclusive city (never mind no one thinks that’s possible in the Midwest!) and I would never have imagined it happening there. The way people there responded did my heart some good, though.

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    1. I hope these people who act on hate are a minority, even though they are so visible right now. I don’t kid myself, there will always be bigotry. But now those who act in hate feel they are able to do so without repercussions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m very grateful these days for Inverness. It’s a very small city (especially by American standards), and while it’s not Shangri-La or anything, it’s a very peaceful place. A lot of the world’s junk seems really far away from here. So does just about everything else, but that’s okay, too. 🙂 It mostly seems to lack ugliness and anger in any real amount. I get a little gentle teasing at the grocery store for being directly responsible for all the ills of the world, but teasing is all it is. And I found out this morning that some of the staff of the hotel I’ve been staying at while I close on the house were circulating a petition to the Home Office to let me stay as a political refugee. It had 53 signatures when I found out and explained that it just doesn’t work that way. Then I went back to my room and cried a little. Damn, I love Scotland. Coming back here was a really good idea.

        Liked by 1 person

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