Temple Israel of Great Neck (TIGN) and the Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) hosted a community event, An Afternoon of Kindness and Giving Back to Our Community, on Oct. 21. It was a crisp autumn day. The wind was howling violently outside as I pushed open the doors and hurried into the temple.
In the Crystal Ballroom downstairs, glittering chandeliers hung from the ceiling and flooded the room with a warm sea of gold. A large table of cookies, chips, brownies and pretzels stood by the entrance.
Several tables had been set up in the center of the room, covered with navy tablecloths. Kids in the community were invited to come in to decorate cookies and rocks, swap toys and make thank-you cards for first responders.
It was so much fun sticking M&Ms to cookies, coloring flowers on cards and painting tiny words onto rocks, with phrases such as “Stop Bullying,” “Count Your Blessings,” “Believe in Yourself” and “Kindness Lifts Us All Up.” I joined some of my friends at the Show Your Appreciation table to make cards for police officers.
“We appreciate the works of our police officers, firefighters and other first responders,” said Jing Wang, a member of GNCA, as she guided the children through the activities. “They serve our community and make it such a nice place for all of us to live in.”
Rabbi Daniel Schweber of Temple Israel explained where the donations in the corner of the room were going.
This is the fifth event hosted together by TIGN and GNCA. With more Asian families moving into Great Neck, the two organizations felt that it was important to bring people together.
Renee and Elliot Flerscher fondly recalled a cooking event, where Elliot was the one who got the lucky penny hidden in a Chinese dumpling.
Find an account of the afternoon by members of TIGN here and another in Chinese below.
Joy Wei, who wrote this on behalf of the Great Neck Chinese Association, is a sixth grader at Great Neck North Middle School.
Read another account of the event in Chinese.