Monday, May 23, 2011

A day of khairat

Cleannup day: West-Park and NYU Muslim Association

A beautiful and sunny day. Danielle and I meet to prepare for the clean up day. We’re being joined by the NYU Muslim Student Khairat (benevolence, charity) group. 
Two young men arrive. I introduce them to the church. Get them started. Jon from the Philharmonic arrives. He  notices my New York Black Yankees shirt and hat and we talk Negro League baseball awhile. He gives me a special Rube Foster commemorative stamp. We’re going over the details of his trip to Venezuela that starts tomorrow. To work with El Sistema. My son will be going with him. Juan is there now.  I continue to believe this will be part of what we’re doing. Just not sure how yet. 
More students are arriving. And West-Park members. There’s vacuuming and sweeping. Going through boxes. Moving old mats. Filling bags with garbage. Polishing pews.
I’m outside sweeping when I hear a voice say, Hey do you want some help? It’s Nadia Miann. She’s been following West-Park as part of her doctoral dissertation. The project clearly went ways never imagined at the beginning. It was her idea to organize this day. She and her husband have come to help.
Bob and Nadia

Talk with Marty. Some speculation as to whether the world will end today. That’s all recorded in special, secret books, he says. You have to be invited to read them. But they're not admissable in a court of law he says. Talk of kabbalah. Madonna. You know, she lives across the park. How he’d like a Yankees hat. (I’ll have to remember that.) Saving baseball tickets( cards) when he was a kid. Balsa wood airplane kits. And how Rabbi Hurewitz, from the Bronx, how his son bought a $10 chemistry set and blew up the house. It said no matter how you mix these chemicals it won’t blow up he said. But he found other chemicals, other chemicals. The rabbi, Hurewitz, forgave his son. But he had to pay the super $300. And then Marty is on his way.
John Hudson stops by to congratulate  us on finding an attorney. Now we have  to take the next step on making a business plan. 
I pass by Starbucks and stop to say hi to Amanda and Jane. And of course Amelia. Then off to coach soccer. 
It’s clear I won’t get to see Ludovica’s play today, either. 
Back to the church. We take a picture of the whole crew on the steps. We feel honored to have  been chosen by the Muslim students as today’s project. Just like the Columbia Preservation Alumni last December. A lot has been accomplished. 
The day ends with a gathering to plan Andre’s concert. It’s a circle that didn’t exist before. I look around the circle, family, friends, artists, West-Park folks. I feel more that we can  make this happen. 
From beginning to end. A day of khairat.

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