Thursday, September 13, 2018

Feed a Lone Soldier - Like He's Never Been Fed Before

Would you like to do something special for two lone soldiers and a lone bat sherut? Here are two letters that we received from some special young people who would love to attend our forthcoming Feast of Legends from the Sea
"My name is Zach and I am currently a lone soldier serving in a unit called Maglan (a special forces commando unit in the IDF). I first came to the Biblical Museum of Natural History on a trip to Israel and fell in love with the fact of seeing animals that are spoken about in the Torah. Really seeing Torah and nature hand in hand. And it had enough of an impact on me to come make Aliyah and join the army. I was looking at your website and found that you were having an event right after Sukkot and it looks amazing. I was wondering if my friend (another lone soldier) and I can come to your event. We would love to join."
"My name is Tali and I am in my second year as a volunteer in National Service/Sherut Leumi. In addition to being taught to be a proud Zionist, chessed is top priority for me. So I volunteered for Sherut Leumi to serve Israel and the Jewish people in the best way I can. One of the things that inspired me to come here was the Biblical Museum of Natural History founded by Rabbi Slifkin. I have been a big fan of his since I was a little girl. His sefer, Nature’s Song, was what I studied for my Bat Mitzvah and I used many of my Judaic shop gift cards to buy all his books and continue to study them. I love animals and Torah and the way Rabbi Slifkin makes them coexist so perfectly is really a gift for all of us. I just would love to be a part of the museum dinner but unfortunately cant afford the price. As a Bat Sherut Bodedah, I get no financial assistance, and my parents have been more than generous, so I cannot ask them for more help. If there is any way that I could attend, that would be amazing."

Unfortunately, due to the highly specialized nature of the event, it is tremendously expensive to put on - the $360 price for the non-patron ticket is cost price! If you would like to sponsor seats for these young people, please write to office@biblicalnaturalhistory.org. Thank you!

38 comments:

  1. Pardon me, but I, as well as anyone else who reads this blog, can think of literally hundreds of more important causes one can support with their money. According to you, it is not even a donation to your museum. It is shelling out $360 so that a lone soldier can have a nice evening. I would hazard a guess that even the soldiers could think of better things to do with $360 if you asked them.

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    1. I'm not claiming that it's charity. Some people who can't attend the dinner because they are not in the country might enjoy giving a lone soldier/ bat sherut a very special gift. And people can always think of better things to do with cash, but gifts have a certain significance.

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  2. Wow, this post is pretty inappropriate and distasteful. Over the top, even for you.

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    1. These people asked if we can subsidize their coming. We can't do that. But we thought that other people might like to, so we put it out there. Not forcing anyone.

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    2. Wow, that comment was particularly abhorrent! Even for a troll like you.

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  3. My family would love to go to the Bahamas but unfortunately cant afford the costs. I was wondering if any of your readers could sponsor us

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  4. Are you shelling out too for this noble cause, or just asking others to?
    And another thing. Funny, I was raised that tzedaka and chesed should be for necessities, not ridiculous fantasy luxuries dreamed up by people who are obviously independently wealthy (or not so independently wealthy). How old fashioned of me....

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    1. Nobody claimed that this is tzedaka.

      I don't have the money for such luxuries. Other people do, and they may be happy to treat lone soldiers to them.

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  5. Every function in the UK for an orthodox moisad (chareidi or not) will have a suggested donation of £180 or £360. But if the person genuinely cannot afford it and is not embarrassed to ask, he or she will get in for whatver he can afford.

    I don’t know the position in the US.

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    1. It's a bit different here, in that a regular function only costs the institution $50-$100 per person, whereas this actually costs us around $360 per person!

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  6. The purpose of a moisad's functions is to raise monies and/or awareness of the moisad's purpose in helping sectors of klal yisrael, whether it be financial needs, medical needs, etc. Most well adjusted people understand this concept. Having a costly dinner just to promote your ego and/or your on the fringe viewpoint of kashrus (which is of course based on your own "paskenings" and "comprehension", lol!) is, well, very nicely put, simply self serving. I'm sorry, but your priorities are really scary. You should get professional, or at least sincere and knowledgeable guidance.
    The rest of us will really just stick with legitimate causes.

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    1. Wow. Glad you've got the reasons for our event all figured out. No wonder you don't post under your real name.

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  7. Ok then, what are the "real reasons" for your extravaganza? Looking forward to seeing what you can come up with.
    Btw, if anyone wants to sponsor an enjoyable night out for these soldiers that actually fundraises for a legit purpose, there's comedy for koby on Succos, the Hatzolo concert, and many other fabulous ways to contribute to klal yisrael while having a great time.
    But let's keep an open mind, shall we? Awaiting to be dazzled by the "real reasons......

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  8. Maybe Zach and Tali should go on a date?

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  9. R. Slifkin, reading these comments reminds me of what my dear old mom always said: "No good deed goes unpunished."

    You should stick to the policy of not publishing anonymous comments. It would make everything more pleasant.

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  10. Perhaps it is best not to allow posts by trolls. No normal person could get that worked up about a request to do something nice for someone.
    Not every kindess has to be an act of charity.

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  11. The vitriol here is astounding. Rav Slifkin in no way referred to this as a charity and is being 100% transparent: giving a lone soldier a special night. That’s all. You can either say that would be nice or hold your money for something else and move on. Perhaps people do not understand what a lone soldier is. These are young individuals, who, in many cases, leave their families behind in other countries to voluntarily defend Israel. They have no family to go home to on free weekends and don’t have the type of support network available to most soldiers. Some people, who have both the means and inclination, might find giving them a special night like the feast an extension of hararat hatov for their service and dedication. Not clear why this is so offensive.

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  12. Thank R. Slifkin for all the work that you do, I'm saddened by the poor taste of other commentators of this article. Even if they do have those feelings, I think they should share them privately with you.

    It is a nice idea to offer an opportunity to help others. I remember learning that the Mitzva of Tzedaka is to get someone to feel like how they were used to. So I think it is a nice gift to offer people who chose to spend a few years of their life serving others for little pay with a thank you gift. I am a teacher, and I always appreciate the nice gifts parents give me. I don't think oh they should have given only to the most poor and never to anyone else. If we actually lived the way the above commentators suggest, we wouldn't give Shalouch Manos on Purim, we would spend all our money on Matnos Levyonim. But the Halacha is to both take care of the most needy and to grow and keep healthy our social networks. So thank you R. Slifkin for offering an opportunity, if we choose to help and give to another, a small measure of what they have given us.

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  13. Hi, I can't afford to make this donation but I would if I could if for no other reason than to show your trolls how disgusting they are. These two lone soldiers give up years of their life to protect othe and all they get is abuse from this guy. It's disgusting. I would bet he never served in the army.

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    1. I think you are very much missing the point. No one is "abusing" the lone soldiers. When they contacted R' Slifkin, they were asking him to do them a favor and let them attend the dinner. Where this goes awry is R' Slifkin asking people to pay for them to attend. The issue is that even if one wants to show support for lone soldiers (certainly a worthy cause) I think it is clear that for the kind of money we are talking about, one could treat a dozen lone soldiers to a very nice dinner in a regular restaurant. Even these lone soldiers themselves might use the $360 differently if it were given directly to them (I don't know; I did not ask them). Spending $360 on a meal is beyond extravagant, and therefore many think it to be poor taste for R' Slifkin to even make the request.

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    2. Some people like giving extravagant gifts. Especially when they are unique.

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    3. Thanks Yehoshua.
      Obviously the readership (that isn't just reading it for "train crash" kicks) here, well.....I guess it matches the host. Missing the point. About everything pretty much. Which is why I usually don't comment. Btw, funny how we never got the "real reasons.......not surprising. Signing out, starting to get silly. Can't teach biometrics to a pebble.

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    4. Yehoshuaand and 'are you kidding', you should both think about how the soldiers might feel if they see rabbi slifkin being trolled as a result of his trying to do something nice for them.

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    5. I am not sure if you are aware of the correct meaning of "trolled." It is not a synonym of "questioned" or even "criticized."
      And I don't think your point is relevant anyway. I could also write: Perhaps you should think about how people struggling to make ends meet feel if they see a request to blow several thousand shekels to give a few people a good time for a couple hours.

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    6. So you buy the cheapest etrog you can find do you?

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  14. I think it is beautiful that R. Slifkin presented to the people who read this blog an opportunity to strengthen and feed lone soldiers. A noble and holy cause.

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  15. I don’t really understand Yehoshua’s logic or Are You Kidding’s incredulity. Individuals reached out to Rav Slifkin for a favor he is not in a position to financially support. He could have said no or told them he has a network of people who might be in a position to grant this request. He did not ask anyone to pay for anything. He shared the notes and indicated that if anyone has any interest in this they’re free to contact him. What is the issue - that he conveyed their request or that it is deemed by these commenters that the request is for something extravagant. This is important because if the issue is the price then by inference the soldiers are indulgent for wanting to partake in the meal, the potential patron is indulgent for willing to spend 360 on one person instead of 10 soldiers enjoying 36 dollar meals, and rav slifkin must be indulgent for even setting up the feast. My goodness there is a lot of judgement going on - must be in the seasonal air. By this logic people should only be altruistically utilitarian with their means - everything else is indulgent. Goodness - close the make the wish foundation. Why give cancer kids a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s indulgent and really, wouldn’t the money be more effective if used for research rather than a wasted experience on a sick kid. I do not mean to suggest that these lone soldiers are akin to cancer patients, hashem yeracheim, but this grandstanding against extravagance is absurd. It was a well intentioned post and you’re actions like a bunch of chicken littles.

    O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars
    Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
    Allow not nature more than nature needs,
    Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s.

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  16. Since the term trolled is getting their around...these letters are odd...I wonder who the trolls are.
    Zach never saw nature and Torah hand in hand. And was so moved by "seeing animals that are spoken about in the Torah. Really seeing Torah and nature hand in hand. And it had enough of an impact on me to come make Aliyah and join the army."
    Quite unique.
    And Tali "One of the things that inspired me to come here was the Biblical Museum of Natural History founded by Rabbi Slifkin."
    Again unique. Especially the fact that she thought it sensible to let the museum staff know the Biblical Museum of Natural History was founded by Rabbi Slifkin, in case they were unaware.
    From the letters it seems, while both had a life altering experience from Rabbi Slifkin they never contacted him subsequently to speak to or thank him.
    Unique.
    And these two lone soldiers decide to contact Rabbi Slifkin for the first time not with thanks and hakaras hatov but asking to attend an event for free? And while everyone has their own way, it is funny that a dinner with strangers would provide some taste of home. It didn't occur to them to ask to come for Shabbos or something?

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    1. Never heard from Zach before his letter. Tali had contacted me a while ago, and we hosted her for Shabbos. When she wrote and asked if she could come for the dinner, in exchange for waiting tables or something, I said that while that isn't an option, she could try writing a letter like the one Zach wrote, and we will post it online and see what the response is.

      Not sure what kind of nefarious plot you think you are uncovering.

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    2. Richmond, your allusions and implied conspiracies hint to a very disturbed and bitter mindset. You are truly unique!

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    3. Richmond, you are an ass. I am sure that Hashem will be kind to you over Yom Kippur as He's that kind of guy. But perhaps you could watch His actions closely and pick up a few tips.

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    4. I do not suspect any nefarious plot.
      Maybe I should have worded my comment in a more direct way.
      Both these letters seem to be altered or contrived.
      And in fact Rabbi Slifkin himself said that Tali wrote her letter on his reccomendation (contrived).

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    5. Yep, thought so too. Weird editing.

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    6. Richmond, something is wrong with you that you think in these ways. Seek psychological help.

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  17. Update: Two out of three have already been sponsored!

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  18. Why not just lower the cost of your banquet for these soldiers? Or set aside a couple of places for charity, and then you (rabbi slifkin) can get a tax deduction! I'm all for supporting lone soldiers. There are some amazing programs that get them much-needed toiletries, warm socks for winter, and cooling neck cloths for summer, as well as provide pizzas for entire brigades. There are also families who regularly volunteer to "adopt" lone soldiers for shabbat and holiday meals and make them feel part of their families.

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    1. I guess you didn't read the post... the $360 price for the non-patron ticket is cost price!

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