In Memory of my Mother
Hennia Rachel Bat Shmuel Moonie
Today, the 5th of Adar (Sunday, February 14, 2016) is my
mother's yahrzeit. In memory of my mom, a"h, I would like to tell
you about our charity box. Our charity box was a simple tin can
that was kept in the kitchen cupboard. Nothing fancy, just a coffe tin
with the word "Tzedakah", in Hebrew, written on a piece of paper
taped around it. If you found a coin on the floor in the house,
it went to the Tzedakah box. If anyone knocked on the door asking
for charity, you could give from the Tzedakah box. As I recall,
the Tedakah box was never empty and it was not gathering dust either.
It was actively in use at the Richman home. There was no accounting
on what when in and what when out. That is how our charity box worked.
It left a lasting impression on me and today I have two Tzedakah boxes
(a bit fancier, made of wood) in my living room and bedroom.
I try to keep them active also.
The charity box was important but it was a tip of the iceberg
when it came to helping others. The Richman Inn or sometimes called
Grand Central Station constantly had traffic coming through.
Visiting relatives or friends from Israel would spend days or weeks
in our home. We had a spare bed that we would put in the dining room when
needed. Sometimes either me or my sister would give up our bedroom
for the visitor(s).
On Peasch, we had these very big seders - over 40 people. The dining
room was too small, so we had several tables placed in the living room.
My mom would be cooking for an army and the food was very, very good.
To my dad's credit, he made a great charoset. Our seders were very long.
My mom was a Hebrew teacher and she would explain every step of the
seder to all the kids (and adults). Till today, when Pesach comes around,
one of my friends reminds me how they still remember our seders.
Sukkot was another holiday that saw many visitors to our home and
our Sukkah. We were one of the few families in the neighbor with a Sukkah.
This was way before Flatbush became a religious neighborhood.
My mom would bring students home to our Sukkah. People on our block
would come to visit the Sukkah. Everyone was welcome.
Our home was also the planning center for many community events
including the Salute to Israel parade were both Yeshiva of Flatbush
High School and Bialik Day School would build their floats with the help
of my dad, mom, students, teachers and friends. And yes, I am sure that
some of the neighbors were wondering why we were building Noah's Ark
in the driveway of 1257 East 24th street in Brooklyn, NY.
I can go on and on.......
My mom was a full time Hebrew teacher at Bialik Day School and
still made time to raise us. My dad would come home every day around 6pm
and we would have supper together at the kitchen table. Friday nights we had
Shabbat dinner in the dining room. My mom was a great cook and till today
I remember her special dishes.
After my sister made aliyah (1983), my parents followed.
I made aliyah in 1984.
When my father z"l passed away in 1990, my mom moved down to Arad
to be close to my sister. For several years my mom was a kindergarten teacher
and she also volunteered at Yad Sarah.
When I would come to visit her in Arad on Friday / Shabbat, I was always
amazed how many people would personally greet her on the streets -
whether a parent of a student or someone that knew her via Yad Sarah.
Another thing that I remember very well is, together with friends, she knitted
items, made jewelry, dressed up old dolls and sold them in order to raise
money for special causes. Arad Helping Hands made and bought presents for
the Children's Oncology department at Soroka Hospital.
I am sure her volunteer work and open home made a difference in many lives.
It did for me, my sister, my nieces, nephew, relatives, friends and people
she came in contact with.
Click for photos of my mom and dad.
Click for class photos of some of the students my mom taught over the years.
Today, tomorrow or whenever you can, please put a few coins in
any charity box in memory of: Hennia Rachel Bat Shmuel Moonie
May her memory be for a blessing.
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