By Chaya Nessa Krycer, Featured Writer, DOJLife.com
Imagine you are cruising down Hillcrest Road. The weather is suggesting an aura of spring. Your windows are rolled down, in an attempt to catch each occasional breeze. Suddenly, before you even have a chance to say “I should have replaced my tire” lo and behold, your hypothetical tire experiences what is known in the academic circles as a blowout.
If you had envisioned this incident a few short years ago there would have been two possible solutions. Either, you could slam your head against the horn, relishing in the angry noises emitting from the car’s interior. (Unfortunately, this response is not widely approved in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Perhaps in your next daydream, you should try having a flat in New York City, where frustrated horn honking is viewed as a permanent white noise, extremely helpful for concentration and relaxation).
Your second choice is to request the service of a private towing company such as QQ. Being that the nearest QQ headquarters can be found in Amarillo (well, maybe a little closer), it may take a short while for an appropriate representative to answer your supplication. (Only a short while if he is willing to forgo his coffee break).
However, a few months ago, all of these theoretical situations were tossed aside, to make room for a third possibility, namely Chaverim. Dallas Chaverim is an on-call volunteer service, ready and willing to assist you with any car troubles you may have. Although the Dallas Jewish community has been in existence for a substantial length of time, there has been no visible attempt to introduce this noteworthy organization until recently, when Dallas born and bred Baruch Shawel returned to his hometown.
Baruch Shawel, having lived in Dallas his entire childhood, attended Akiba and Yavneh. He then left Dallas in 2008 to learn for two years in Yeshivas Ohr Samayach. Next, he attended Touro College in New York, where he trained as an EMT. After getting married he resettled in Dallas in 2018. When asked what prompted him to establish a Dallas Chaverim, he replied that he had been an active member in a NY branch of Chaverim, and seeing the lack of such services, thought it would be advantageous in Dallas as well.
The Dallas Chaverim pledges to assist people with car troubles, such as dead car batteries, flat tires, and the unfortunately recurring phenomenon of being locked out of one’s car. They are strictly a volunteer organization, requesting neither payment nor reimbursement. Not only is this extremely practical as it cuts down on lengthy response times (Chaverim’s response time currently being five minutes) it also proves once again that Jews take care of each other, and are genuinely concerned about the needs of one another.
However, even though Baruch Shawel spearheaded this organization, it cannot function with him alone. In order for Chaverim to continue growing, more equipment, as well as more members are desperately needed, to ensure Chaverim’s success in helping everyone in need. Thanks to people like David Charazi, Eli Hammerman, Meir Simcha Stolov, Rabbi Michel Lomner, Barrel Maayan, Rabbi Menachem Ziemba, and of course Rabbi Sholey Klein, Chaverim’s rabbinic advisor, one to two people a week are assisted in their assorted motor-related complications.
But somehow, Chaverim has become more than just a car repair organization. It is now a symbol of the strong and unbreakable bond each of us shares with our community and its members. During these times, even with the social distancing rules enforced, we are all in this together.
Chaverim reminds us that we are a unified and consolidated entity, each ready to catch our neighbors when they fall. Perhaps this is why Dallas had to wait so many years for this service to be established, as now we especially need to be reminded of our community’s solidarity, no matter the difficult circumstances. It also proves the strength of the Jewish people, that even when the world has gone crazy, we turn to our instinct of giving to others.