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That’s the Ticket

She spent the night thinking about it. On the one hand, girls helped for the Melaveh Malkah in all sorts of ways. Maybe this was the way she should help the school because it seemed she was good at fundraising. On the other hand, she didn’t love it.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

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C hevi looked forward to Tuesdays because that was the day she volunteered at Bikur Cholim after school. She didn’t go in the van with the girls who visited sick people in hospitals, as some of her ninth-grade classmates chose to. She enjoyed going to the big Bikur Cholim kitchen where she worked with two friends to prepare meals for Bikur Cholim rooms in hospitals all over the state.

As she made salads or sandwiches, or used the pickle machine to not only slice the pickles but feed them into a bag and shrink-wrap them, Chevi would think about the meals’ final destinations. Bikur Cholim rooms were places where relatives of patients could sit or sleep or find something to eat after tiring, stressful hours at a patient’s bedside. The parents of a child rushed to hospital, who hadn’t stopped to take food with them for the trip, could go to a cozy Bikur Cholim room once the child was resting. A new father at the hospital with his wife on Shabbos to have their baby, could make Kiddush on the grape juice, wash over challah, and eat a respectable Shabbos seudah. Chevi liked being part of all that.

One chilly, rainy Tuesday evening, a lady came into the Bikur Cholim kitchen where Chevi was busy with the pickle slicer. “Hi. I was wondering whether one of you girls would help us out on the phones.”

“The phones?” Chevi’s friend, Shifra, echoed. She was cutting fruit into attractive bite-size pieces.

The lady smiled. “The Bikur Cholim raffle is in two days, as you may know. We’re calling people to buy raffle tickets, and trying to sell as many as possible.” She looked around the kitchen. “I know what you do here is important, but maybe you could take an hour off to make calls with us?” Kayla backed slowly away into a corner, and Shifra suddenly looked more interested in cutting fruit than she ever had before. Chevi felt bad for the lady. Sighing, she asked, “What do I say if someone answers the phone?” Chevi wasn’t shy, but the thought of asking adults for money over the phone made her mouth go dry.

The lady beamed at her, “Come this way to the office. Here’s a piece of paper with everything you need to say. Just practice once or twice so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading when you make the call.” She swiftly seated Chevi at a desk with a phone. Thinking wistfully of the cozy kitchen she’d just left, Chevi dialed the first number on her list. Answering machine. The second number picked up. 

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