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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The eleventh day of Christmas: We're trying. Oy vey.

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The last two mornings the Reachout team has come to the steps trying to persuade Joe and his woman to accept shelter. They say from all appearances, they should be eligible for their program. Joe sees me approaching, says Here’s the pastor now. I look at the Reachout team and say, I really want them off the steps in this weather. I don’t want anyone freezing to death here. Been there…
Joe shrugs his shoulders. Tells me he’s trained for survival. I shrug my shoulders. He shrugs his shoulders, begins his litany of why the program won’t work. I tell him he’s got to try, got to work with them.

I walk down 86th with the team. I can’t have them here in this weather, I say. We’re trying they say.

Late in the day, I find Rachel in the sanctuary after havdalah davening. Again, I pursue a fruitless conversation as to why any of these righteous friends of hers can’t help. It would surely be mitzvah.

And yet again, she responds with oy vey. And I hear all the answers. Just like Joe. Without the shoulder shrugs. And I hear the story again. This time with the part but the rare disease and the terminal diagnosis and how she gave all her money away, never knowing she’d live this long. And of all the people she’s counseled and…Just please get your stuff in order, empty your carts. Like that’s going to happen.

Go up to visit RL. Time for a walk down the street to his office at the Gate.  And once again, he reminds me of what I can’t do.

Oy vey.


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