By Chaya Nessa Krycer
As the immortal poet John Milton once penned, “Was I deceived or did a sable cloud; Turn forth her silver lining on the night.” It was at that pivotal moment that the phrase ‘look for the silver lining’ was coined. This slogan has been circulated to the extent that the only reaction it gets is a slight nod and (from our more cynical crowd) an eye roll.
Now, I, too, have been admonished by my English teacher for my voluminous usage of ubiquitous cliches. However, although these expressions are widely disdained by the cultured and refined, there comes a time when they are necessary to be used, as they describe a situation in the most succinct and precise way possible. The events of the previous days demonstrate this. (what cliches did she use?)
Nobody in Dallas needs a blow-by-blow account of what transpired in the past week. Even those fortunate enough to maintain full power were well aware of the suffering of their neighbors and friends only a house or two away. However, many of us (myself included) were not apprised of the many positive outcomes which occurred, outcomes that exhibit the strength and achdus of the Dallas Jewish community.
Most of the trouble began with the wind turbines. Since 2008, Texas has produced the most wind power in comparison to every other state in the US and many countries worldwide. In fact, currently, 24% of Texas’ energy relies on wind energy. Now that’s all very nice until you realize that this equipment was not made for sub-freezing temperatures. Once the temperatures drastically plummeted, the turbines froze, causing all companies relying on wind energy to be incapacitated. Even industries that continued to use natural gas were temporarily debilitated as the gas liquified and the aperture of the pipes thinned because of layers of ice, turning it incapable of producing energy. Since Texas has an independent power grid, they became helpless, with no-one from whom to borrow, beg or steal power.
With all of these complications and hurdles, the Dallas community had numerous ways in which to respond. I am proud to say that they have proven beyond a doubt that in times of hardship, the Dallas Jewish community stands together and protects each other from harm’s way. This was illustrated in infinite ways.
To start, Kosher Palate, seeing that many families were unable to prepare hot dinners due to the power outages, donated free, freshly cooked meals. Thousands of piping hot dinners were prepared and distributed to families in the North and South Eruvim and in Plano. These meals were sponsored by Chaim Goldfeder (owner of Kosher Palate), the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, and various donations from anonymous sources – many of which came from Houston. Not only that, many people who were fortunate to retain power throughout the winter storm opened their homes to those in need. Neighbors who found a way to prepare hot food gladly shared it with their cold and hungry neighbors, not to mention beds and showers. But this is not all that occurred this past week. The climax transpired only after the temperatures began to rise.
Any plumber can attest to the detrimental effect frigid weather can have on water pipes. Hundreds of families experienced this when their frozen pipes began to thaw, subsequently bursting and flooding the homes of many. The immediate solution would be to employ the use of a shop vac to absorb all the water before irremediable damage was done. The prime obstacle is where to procure this piece of equipment. However, members of the Dallas Chaverim solved this dilemma.
Without monetary incentive or desperate pleas, a group of men took the initiative to appear at any location experiencing difficulty with their burst pipes. Each of the men belonged to a Chaverim WhatsApp group created to inform them of which places needed their services. The only characteristics these men share are a kind compassionate nature and the possession of a shop vac. When Congregation Toras Chaim flooded, this group arrived on the premise, to the surprise of Rabbi Rich who had not alerted them of the situation. When asked about this service, the men replied that this was their 14th call that day- all done without payment. There was a need and Chaverim stepped up to the plate.
These are not the only instances I could name. I could mention how a Lakewood Bikur Cholim truck paired up with Kosher Palate, Simcha Kosher Catering, and the Market in order to deliver Shabbos meals for those who were unable to prepare it themselves. These meals were coordinated by Rabbi Bentzi Epstein and Rabbi Daniel Ringelheim. Not only that, the Mesorah girls baked over 90 pounds of challah to be distributed with the Shabbos meals. Even monetary funds were contributed, with Charidy and GOFUNDME pages initiated by Chaim Goldfeder and Rabbi Daniel Ringleheim. (Collectively, over $78,000 has been raised thus far.)
All these examples confirm that the Dallas community stands by each other during times of trouble. All expertise, tools, and skills that the community possess are used for the sole intention of assisting others. Even thru the thick, turbulent cloud, a silver lining can be found, if you look hard enough. The snowstorm, the loss of power, and floodings resemble a thick gray cloud. However, the solidarity of our community and its continuous achdus will forever penetrate as a silver lining within that cloud.
- Donate Now to Dallas Emergency Fund (Rabbi Daniel Ringleheim)
- Donate Now to Hot Meals for Texas (Chaim Goldfeder)
We do not know why these events had to transpire. Perhaps Hashem was giving us a chance to help one another and prove yet again that we are like no other. The Jewish people are the ultimate silver lining within the world’s gray cloud.
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