Centrality of Community

Post by Rhona Gerber, member of Mekor Habracha and the Center City Kehillah Steering Team. Thank you for sharing your personal story!

Our family has been residents, or, should I say, community members, of Center City for over 25 years. This week’s Torah portion, Yitro, reveals to us what it means to be a community. The dichotomy of the Parsha, receiving the Law from Hashem, to Yitro guiding Moses in establishing his leadership structure, represents to me why we thrive when we are part of a community rather than trying to exist on our own. Community, the definition of kehillah, is essential to our growth and survival.

I am all too aware and thankful for our Center City community.  Over 18 months ago, I had a bizarre accident. What seemed like a simple trip and fall on a city sidewalk after putting my son on his camp bus turned into two broken bones in my left foot and a broken left humorous.  Since both breaks were on the left side of my body, I was totally immobilized.

While I was panicking about how to take care of my family, the Center City community stepped in and took care of us.  Kosher meals for the four of us started while I was still in the hospital. While I personally was not so interested in eating, it eased an additional burden for my husband, who was dealing the logistics of a busy 8 year old boy’s schedule and a daughter who was about to embark on her freshman year of college. The meals continued for six weeks as I recovered from surgery and regained some mobility and was able to help in the preparation of food.

Food was just one of the myriad of ways the community supported us: There were camp pick-ups and play dates, back to school shopping, and the all-important pre-college Bed Bath and Beyond run. Somehow, while assisting in all of these tasks, people even came just to visit so that I was not totally bored while being  housebound.

Speaking of housebound, I cannot leave out the biggest mitzvah of all: the community members who allowed us to live with them, since our Center City home certainly is not wheelchair friendly.  The extra hands continued until I was literally back on my feet about a year ago.  Every day, I am thankful that all I had was an injury and not a disease or a life-long affliction, thankful that soon, this will just be a long forgotten memory.  However, what won’t be forgotten is how our community rallied to support our family.  I am sure that we are not the only family to experience this kind of support. I know that whenever another individual or family needs the support, my family will be part of the community that takes care of them, enabling our community to survive and grow.