–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.