Friday, July 29, 2011

A Word from the Director: 7/29/2011

So often, in trying to help people, we come into the situation with an agenda and we attempt to reach out to the person on our terms. With teenagers, it is critical to the relationship building process that we work with these kids on their terms. This is how we are able to reach out to kids from so many different parts of the greater Los Angeles Jewish community. Here at Aish Tamid we feel very blessed to have such a beautiful building with all of its amenities. We’ve provided nearly every activity these boys could want! Yet, there are still those who don’t come to us, and we have to make the effort to meet them on their “turf.” Sometimes a boy will call that he’s “chilling out” at the park - so we meet at the park. During the year a kid might be having an issue at school, so we go down there to advocate on their behalf. We have been called to private homes to help resolve a parent-child conflict. In more dire instances, we have gone to hospitals, drug rehabs, or even jails to connect with a kid looking for guidance and support. We can’t help a kid who isn’t ready to be helped, so when they are ready and do reach out to us, we do whatever we can to engage them on their terms and in their comfort zone. This is how we gain their trust, build a relationship with them, and hopefully help them get to a better place in their lives.

Thursday night we had a beautiful and inspiring evening with a bbq “catered” by our very own chef Ivan, and learning with R’ Yaakov Rosenblatt. We look forward to R’ Yaakov’s words of Torah and chizuk and are very appreciative of the time he spends with us each week.

A boy approached me this week about having a CPR class at Aish Tamid. I told him to get a list of boys interested in such a venture and to get back to me. Within the hour he came back to me with a list of 8 names and cell numbers of kids who would like to attend such a class. It is always heartening to see their passion and involvement in growing the organization, and amazing how quickly they can make things happen when they take the initiative to do so.

One quick nice story: I was having coffee with a boy who hasn’t been doing much with his time this summer. I asked him if he could help me with a building project by working with the professional who was doing it for me. He said he had never done anything like that before, but was willing to try. He worked diligently for an hour and a half and looked happier than I had ever seen him. At the end he said, “Wow, I never thought I could do that!” We have to encourage kids to try new things, as we never know what may inspire them or where it will take them.

Aish Tamid would like to wish deepest condolences to the Dolin and Brodsky family on the recent loss of their mother. May they be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim. May the efforts that Elliot has made and continues to make on behalf of Aish Tamid be an aliya for her neshama.

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff

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