Synagogue Distributes Hurricane Preparedness Supplies
By Sergio Carmona
Rabbi Celso Cukierkorn's friends wanted to throw a party for his 38th birthday. Cukierkorn had a different idea — to have friends and members of his synagogue, Adat Achim Synagogue in Sunny Isles, distribute hurricane preparedness supplies.On June 29th his friends and congregation members did just that at Center Courts Apartments in North Miami.
"My friends wanted to throw me a party, and I said why don't we use the money and buy hurricane supplies, which is different than the supplies we give for Holocaust survivors when we go visit them and bring them a lot of stuff for a while," he said. "A hurricane is different. You give them water, canned fish, canned vegetables, and something that they are able to eat their food with so they can survive for two days and so we decided to give to a few families who have children who live in this development (Center Courts Apartments) here."
Cukierkorn said 80 percent of the residents were immigrants from Haiti. He had members come from Asia and Europe to participate in the distribution. He felt that his congregation learned that anyone can make a difference. "Every time I try to do something to the majority of people, I've been very blessed with success and think when you give back to society and the community, it's a wonderful opportunity," he said- "I already go out with my congregants and we have dinner all the time, but this was special. This was something that makes you feel special."Cukierkorn was also happy that his congregants and friends were spreading their joy and Judaic characteristics.“This is all that is part of tikhun olam — to make world a better place," he said. "If each one of us does our obligation, the world becomes a better one. “Chela Garcia, a neighbor of Cukierkorn's, expressed her satisfaction in helping her friend's project. "It's a good opportunity to give back to the community and no matter what religion, it's a friend helping a friend and helping those in need," she said. Ana Scherer, a synagogue board member and friend of Cukierkorn's who participated in the project, said th t it always a great opportunity to perform a mitzvah. “I’m grateful for the synagogue for allowing me to perform a mitzvah and I'm grateful to perform the mitzvah with my husband, "she said. Cukierkorn was also happy to see young children participate in the project."With this experience I got to see my 3-year-old give baskets," he said. "I've seen children in my community working hard and building the baskets and I think that this all in itself was a great mitzvah. We're teaching kids that they have more than they need and we're teaching them to share."Cukierkorn hopes to perform the same project for his next birthday.
From the Tuesday July 8, 2008 issue of the The Jewish Journal.