An Afternoon Of Appreciation

Temple Israel of Great Neck and the Great Neck Chinese Association shared a community event. (Photos by Betty Leong)

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.

“Clothes, toys and books will be taken to Saint Aloysius Church, where they will be distributed to those in need,” noted Schweber.

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.

“All of us are much more alike than different,” said Schweber. “This is an opportunity to bring all of us together in an afternoon of kindness.”

Find an account of the afternoon by members of TIGN here and another in Chinese below.

Isaac Xu and Joy Wei spent the day with local police officers.

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.

TIGN和GNCA合作回报社区 – 感恩社区服务人员
(By Isaac Xu, GNCA Student Reporter)
            10月21号下午3:00,Temple Israel of Great Neck(TIGN) 和 Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA)联合组织了一场活动回报社区,华人和犹太人一起,向我们社区的志愿者,急救人员,警察,消防员等表示感谢。
            此次活动在Temple Israel举办,好多参加的小朋友或是给我们的社区服务人员做小饼干和小甜点,或是写感谢卡片,还有一些在石头上写暖心的话,大家都很努力。另外,摆在后面的桌上还有好多居民捐献出来的玩具,衣服,用来帮助需要的人。
“我们住在同一个社区,应该互相增进了解,我们彼此更相像,而不是更不同,” Rabbi Schweber讲,“我们都该献一点爱心,一起向我们的社区服务者来表示我们的感激。”
活动有上百位居民到场,我遇到了一对老夫妻,Elliot 和 Ranee Flerscher。 他们年纪很大了,孙辈都已经上大学了,但他们还是积极参加社区活动。他们说他们想要社区联系得更紧密,想要大家都团聚在一起。有人需要帮助,就会有人提供帮助,我们是一个大家庭,所以我们得感谢每一位帮助我们的人。
 社区的服务者都来了,有消防员,有警察,有急救人员,他们吃了小朋友专为他们做的饼干和甜点,读了石头和卡片上的感谢的话。 我采访了警察Greg Jurkowich和Joseph Lamonica, 他们说,“我们已经工作7年了,我们想帮助这个社区的人,而我们不觉得很难,因为我们在做喜欢做的事情。”


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