North Carolina Newspapers

    Pag*2 - THE NEWS -February, 1982
Published monthly by:
Charlotte Jewish Federation
Marvin Bienstock, Director
Jewish Community Center
Harold Cohen, Director
Charlotte Hebrew Academy
Eleanor Weinglass, Director
Editors Ann Langman & Rita Mond
Staff Monroe Katz & Lissa Millman,
Copy deadline the 6tb of each month
P. O. Box 220188, Charlotte, N. C. 28222
One of the most beautiful Yiddish words is
“Mensch,” or in Hebrew “Ben Adam.” It means a per
son, but in some cases it also expresses an ideal.
There is a Yiddish proverb which speaks about the
Mensch and in essence it means this ideal personality.
“A mensch is umetum a mensch” — a real mensch is a
mensch under all circumstances.
Ours is a society where everything is in a state of
flux. The morals and standards are under constant
challenge. The new morality extends to every aspect of
human behavior. There are no certainties, no more
verities, no more time-tested truths, no permanent
As a result, we find ourselves in a state of terrible
spiritual chaos and confusion.
But, we Jews have a tradition. It is a tradition that is
4,000 years old. We have been confronted with similar
challenges and moral dilemmas for many centuries;
and from our historic experience we have achieved pro
found insights and great wisdom that are embodied in
the values taught by our Torah and our tradition.
These values are not disposable like yesterday’s
newspaper. They are values for which it is possible for
a human being to live a meaningful life even in the 20th
These values and teachings of Jewish tradition have
one goal — it's to try to make a mensch out of each one
of us. because if you’re a mensch, our tradition says
that you can be relied upon under all circumstances.
“You can be a man for all season.”
If you’re a student you can resist the pressure of
others who want you to experiment with drugs or to use
sex as a substitute for love.
If you are a mensch and have a profession, your con
cern for your client will supersede your concern for
your own aggrandizement.
If you are a mensch and there is a crisis, you will be a
person who can be counted on to help others as well as
Leo Rosten, in The Joys of Yiddish, wrote “to be a
mensch has nothing to do with wealth, success or
Temple Israel will present its first Ben Adam or
Mensch Award on Friday evening, February 19. The
award will be given to a human being who is upright,
honorable and decent. He or she may be someone of
consequence, someone to admire and emulate, someone
of noble character who has dignity and has a sense of
what is right and responsible. The entire community is
invited to join our Temple family.
The proverb says. “A real mensch is a mensch under
all circumstances.” I shall not forget my teacher, who
used to say to me, "When will you become a mensch?”
It's a question that our tradition suggests we ask
ourselves every day of our lives.
Rabbi Richard K. Rocklin
Across The Editors* Desks...
L’ Chaim
Dear Ann and Rita:
Please accept my thanks in
particular for the coverage
you've given me in becoming
president of Charlotte
Jewish Federation — and in
general for the excellent
work you’re doing as editors
of The Charlotte Jewish
Your winning the Public
Relations Award of CJF is
added testimony to the high
standards you've set and
achieved. The entire com
munity is proud of your ac
complishments and looks
forward to each issue.
Best wishes to you in all
your efforts in 1982.
Kind personal regards,
Richard A. Klein
Charlotte Jewish
The Editors welcome com
ments and letters expressing
all points of view and reserve
the right to edit.
By L. Louis Albert, ACSW
Director Federation
Social Services
It was pretty cold here in
Charlotte this past month,
and like most of us I just
turned up the heat in our
apartment. We have electric
heat that blows hot air, so
that if it’s not blowing it real
ly doesn’t feel too warm. The
electric bill arrived just a few
days ago and the one month
charge was for a whopping
$103. Now to me that seems
like a lot of money, although
all of the neighbors are pay
ing about the same. We’re
not extravagent with the
heat either. During the
daytime the temperature is
set at 60 degrees, and is the
same when we go to bed at
By Rabbi Yossi Groner
The fifteenth day of the
Hebrew month of Shvat is
the “Rosh Hashono” — New
Year for Trees. It is
celebrated by eating from the
seven fruits distributed to
Israel. We bring you a
thought about the relation of
tree to mankind.
“....for man is as the tree
of the field....” Our sages
have used this verse as a
basis for their teaching that
the service of man must
relate to and be influenced
by “the tree of the field.”
Undoubtedly there are
many points of instruction
and guidance that we can
derive from the vegetation
that surrounds us; but why
is the tree singled out as a
source of inspiration for
The vegetative power
which the creator instilled in
the earth expresses the in
finite nature of His being.
Should the world continue to
exist for millions of years the
earth’s infinite power of
vegetation will ceaselessly
cause grass to grow year
after year and century after
night. For about five hours
in the early evening we raise
it to 70 degrees. I’ve been
wondering how elderly peo
ple living on a relatively fix
ed social security income
cope with this problem of
escalating costs.
Now about this same time
I read that the telephone
company is asking for a very
large increase. For an elderly
person the phone can be as
much of a necessity as food
and shelter, especially in the
case of an emergency. There
isn’t any way to cut basic
phone service unless you use
a party line.
We haven’t even begun to
consider the fact that apart
ment rents are increased on a
regular basis of at least once
a year, or that food costs
century. The individual
blade of grass does not,
however, display within
itself a characteristic of in
Not so the tree. Each in-
dividual tree itself
demonstrates a limitless cy
cle of infinite growth and
propogation through its fruit
which bear the seeds for the
next generation of trees
which will in turn bear seed
carrying fruit, etc. An apple
tree may grow large, sweet,
delicious fruit, but this is not
enough; the apple must also
contain a seed which can be
planted to yield another tree
which in turn will produce
fruits with seeds to grow fur
ther trees and so on.
The tree demonstrates an
aspect of infinity, through
its limitless reproduction of
generations, providing us
with a powerful analogy to
derive inspiration for service
of the Creator.
This teaches us that one
should not only improve
their own life but must also
share their knowledge and
wisdom with others to the ex
tent that they in turn should
bear fruit too.
have been edging upwards.
Where do you begin to make
the budget cuts when your
income only covers the
Let’s look at a typical
situation for a moment. If a
single older adult receives
$550 a month in social securi
ty retirement benefits and
pays $300 a month in rent,
$100 for electricity in the
winter, $12 for basic
telephone service, and $30
per week for food and other
groceries, then that leaves
only $18 a month to pay for
clothing, medical care,
prescriptions, health in
surance and transportation.
Hardly an extravagent
A person in such a situa
tion might rely on their sav
ings. yet even a $10,000 nest
egg goes mighty fast if you
spend a week or two at the
hospital. A person in such a
situation might apply for
government aid, such as food
stamps or medicaid. Yet
these programs have become
more and more restrictive
and someone with a $550 in
come and more than $1000 in
the bank would not be eligi
ble for any help most likely.
A person might turn to his
children for a little extra
help, but that supposes that
the children have extra
money available. Or a person
might move into one of the
nice subsidized apartments
for the elderly which are
located around town. These
apartments are so swamped
with requests that the Hous
ing Authority which runs
them is no longer accepting
applications and will not do
so for at least the next year.
A person might find himself
in a pretty bad situation in
spite of all his best efforts.
My purpose in describing
this depressing scenario is
not to make you feel badly or
to ask for anything. Rather,
it is to let you know that in
the real world these things
happen and people struggle
to manage. It even happens
in a Jewish Community such
as Charlotte. Next time it’s
cold and you turn up the heat
to stay warm, ask yourself
how you might manage if the
situations were reversed.
The Jewish
Feb. 5 —5:56p.m.
Feb. 12 — 6:03 p.m.
Feb. 19 — 6:10 p.m.
Feb. 26 — 6:16p.m.
Mar. 5 — 6:23p.m.
Now that s a ‘*Mensch
Thoughts From The
Lubavitcher Rebbe

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