Those words are a timeless reminder from a Rabbi Harvey M. Tattelbaum’s High Holy Day sermon published in Our Town. The date missing on the copies made to share at a church gathering. But his message did note it was the 5746th year of the ancient Jewish calendar. More important, It was a time he said “to remind ourselves of a sense of accountability to the Jewish tradition, the needs of our people and to people everywhere.”
And his message ends with the words we so need to remember and enact “Or as Abraham understands God to have told him -- “Heyay baracha” -- be a blessing, that is why we are here. “
And I wrote a column citing ways to be a Big Apple blessing - all faiths all people of good faith. Not surprising, I can’t locate it, but I suspect they’re same ones we need today,
This may seem a simplistic way to be a blessing, but smiling does help sweeten the social climate, not to mention human connections in a time known more for peering at cell phones and other devices. But keep in mind how smiling also soothes the brain, and don’t we need that. And don’t we need that. And my cousin’s foster daughter (what a blessing) reminds: “A smile is a curve which sets everything straight ”
Crimes of Traffic
And speaking of safe traffic which we inevitably must, while vehicle operators are required to yield to pedestrians when turning into a crosswalk, it’s really nice to give a smile and a wave when they do.
But when they don’t well don’t be silent. Again, failure to yield is the leading cause of pedestrian injury and death, and yet this deadly traffic crime is too seldom punished even when it takes a life or severely injures. And it surely does stress, which must be considered big time. All crimes of traffic do that, including two wheelers and now scooter riders (help!) so very allergic to the rules of the road.
A Neighbor Who Is a Blessing
And that does relate to Rabbi Tattelbaum and Temple Shaaray Tefila, member Betty Cooper Wallerstein and her East 79th Street Neighborhood Association is surely a blessing, with 30-plus years active concern for all the above, including getting York Avenue Sunday bus service. And the monthly meetings so importantly bring people together and to meet with elected officials and police officers. Also helpful friendships are formed. What a blessing!
But due to luxury high rises razing places that once held community rooms, meeting places are harder to find – let alone small businesses which meet everyday needs. So be a blessing and join this and other civic groups to save and restore these and other ineffable city blessings – very critical city needs they are.
It can be done if enough of us try - Heyay baracha – be a blessing, that is why we are here. New Year blessings which again Rabbi Tattlebaum said “means a sense of accountability to the world is the responsibility of each of us for our Jewish tradition and to the needs of our people – to people everywhere.” Please repeat and repeat “to all of us, and to people everywhere.”