Friday, 13 January 2017

January 21, 2010

Hello friends.

Here, finally, is my blurby-thing for the week!  It would have been on time, except for my crystal ball’s lack of reverence of my daily schedule.  Before too much of 2010 swooshes by, I thought I would give you my predictions for the coming year.

First, I should give you just one of my credentials so that your faith in said predictions are not just swept away with a roll of the eyes and a press of the delete button.

In last week’s blurby-thing, I hinted that one of our guests would land a job at St. Joseph’s hospital. BINGO.  Mark has already had training and begun working and is smiling and tremendously grateful for the full-time job!  In my mind’s eye, I can still see his delight and pride as he took out his hospital photo i.d. for me to see. Geesh, I’m teary again!  Perhaps I should predict that more of our guests can receive the same; however, in today’s paper, the government has slashed five of the provincially funded Employment Ontario services.

So, quickly, here are just a few predictions:

*Two of our overnight guests are the women who stay with us every OOTC night. I predict that they will find permanent housing even though they are not looking or asking for it. (Two female street outreach workers came intentionally on Tuesday to speak to them. As I caught some of their interractions, it was so apparent that these workers had such rakhmones (rahkh-MAWN-is-Yiddish) for our friends. That’s compassion, empathy. Not your thin-blooded, abstract pity, but real, sloppy, emotional caring for people. It may take a lot of effort, patience and trust-building, but of all the predictions I make today, I hope…..)

*Julio, will come for ONLY dinner next Tuesday or not come in at all. Julio, originally from Columbia, but fresh off the bus from Toronto on Tuesday walked by our church door and then joined in as the line of guests was making it’s way in. After greeting him, he asked me where he might find shelter for the night.  There is nothing we like to see so much as the gleam of pleasure in a person's eye when he feels that we have sympathized with him, understood him and helped him. At these moments something fine and spiritual passes between two people. By 7:00 am the next morning, he and I were the bestest of friends. He had a good sleep, great breakfast, warm hat, lunch and an appointment with the street outreach workers from the night before. These are the moments worth living.

*Our MAC students will succeed in LIFE.  They know who they are. These young people must be such a source of pride for their parents and communities who have raised them. (It’s okay, kids, this is one of my blurby-things that you can forward to your parental units!)  They smile and kibbutz with guests and fellow OOTC’ers, clean and unplug toilets (yeah, Sid), dry dishes, mop floors, slop food, hop over mats while juggling exams, essays, classes, and, very likely, other volunteer and interest group. If any of you ever need a reference ...

*I adamantly predict that we will have a snowstorm between Sunday and Wednesday.  (It always snows when my husband, the snow remover in the household, is away.)

*I predict that we will be serving chicken next week.  The sloppy joe’s was a hit this week when 117 dined. I predict that we will have closer to 100 guests on Feb 2nd. BTW, that’s the day that SoupFest, an annual fundraiser for Living Rock Ministries, attracts thousands of people.

Well, friends, I sort of expect that some of you, in the future, will congratulate me on my predictions.  Having said that, allow Rabbi Phil Cohen to say the rest. “Let’s make the following point. You never know what’s around the corner.  I mean, we think we do, and most of the time in fact we do. We turn the corner and it’s just as we remember it from yesterday. But our lives are filled with enough insecurity so that occasionally when we turn the corner we encounter something unknown, and often something unpleasant.  How many of us would prefer, if we could, to turn the clock back and avoid 9-11 and its consequences?  Or turn the clock back and do something about housing loans before we hit a crisis point?  Or have a chat with Bernie Madoff  early on? But time doesn’t work that way.  The events that fall into the vortex of time are events we only have control over after they occur. Which is to say we have no control over them at all.  All we can do is analyze them. Retrospect and predictions are nice, and useful, but it cannot undo what’s already been done. At best, if we’re smart, if we learn, if we’re trainable, we can avoid the same thing happening again. Second, since we don’t have absolute control over what’s around the next bend, let’s enjoy our lives while we’re here to enjoy them.”

Bye for now.


Hello Rabbi (Phil) Cohen. It's long overdue, but I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy receiving your e-mails. They always make me pause and think a bit deeper about your topics which are engaging because you always seem to make them personal and tactile.By now, G-d willing, your boo boo is just a dorky memory, I hope! So please, keep me on your e-mail list knowing that it's making an impact!
Cindy Richter

Dear Cindy, Every now and again something like an email has the capacity to make my day just a little richer.  Your email was one such event.  Thanks a lot, and I have no reason to excise you from the list.  As you can see my missives have been sparse of late, but they will keep coming.
Thanks so much for writing.
All the best.Phil

Hello Rabbi: Gee that was so nice. Now, I'll send your day soaring past "richer" all the way over any person on the Forbes List. Let me explain. As the coordinator of the Jewish community's night of Out of the Cold (a food and shelter downtown,) I write a response to each evening's offering to our volunteers, donors, interested partners. All 130 of them.This week I was looking for inspiration, remembered your New Years message and, after some cutting and pasting (hope you don't mind,) it was a go! I have attached it for you to read. You can go home for the day now, because you've done enough good!          

Cindy,  Well, now you made my week.  Thanks.    
Best,   Phil


WOW!!!!! you continually blow me away!!!!!! Can you be my "fortune" teller? You are already my  everything else!!!!!. Love, L

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