By Temple Israel of Great Neck
The ideal of community informed the latest collaboration between Temple Israel of Great Neck (TIGN) and the Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) when the two organizations joined together for an Afternoon of Kindness on Oct. 21. The goal was to help increase mutuality and kindness in the community and offer thanks to the first responders who serve them.
“If any one of us is, God forbid, in need of a first responder—whether it be police, first aid and/or rescue—the various agencies covering the Great Neck area will come to our aid regardless of our ethnicity, religion, race, age, gender, wealth or impoverishment,” noted Rabbi Daniel Schweber, associate rabbi at TIGN. “In many respects, such care is the very definition of community and community service. All people who live and work in Great Neck are protected and served by the dedicated first responders.”
At the event, children decorated cookies, wrote notes of thanks and painted rocks for first responders, who the grateful children had the opportunity to meet.
Participants also aided one another and the community in a judgment-free book, toy and clothing exchange. No one was shamed for what they brought or embarrassed for what they took, and many of the parents commented that they would like to see more such events in the future.
“I enjoyed seeing the teens speak with the rescue volunteers who are just a couple of years older,” said Schweber. “I think the teens were inspired by the first responders’ dedication to service.”
Nathan Fong, president of GNCA, added, “It was a privilege to be able to work with TIGN, where we can give back to our community and show our sincere appreciation to our community servants who are there for us every day.”
Previously, the two groups organized several other community activities, including a day at Steppingstone Park, a bowling event, an ice skating outing at Parkwood Rink and a kosher cooking exchange. Both TIGN and GNCA have indicated their hope to come together for more meaningful gatherings in the future.
“By joining forces, Temple Israel and the Great Neck Chinese Association brightened the day for families and first responders in our community,” said Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum. “I was proud to be a part of this worthwhile event and ask all of
our residents to embrace the power of community service.”
For more information on future collaborations, contact Temple Israel at 516-482-7800.
Read an account of the event by a GNCA participant and another in Chinese here.